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Investing in renewable heat reduces price risks

Myth

Oil and gas are cheap and therefore it is smarter to postpone investment.

Facts

Recently the risk of higher volatility in oil and gas prices has increased enormously. In early October 2018 the crude oil Brent price reached 80 USD per barrel – higher than ever during the past three years. When comparing total costs renewable heat generation systems are the most economic.

Sustainable heating makes sense financially. Due to increased world market oil prices, heating oil was on average one third more expensive in October compared to the previous October. Also the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2018 predicted higher insecurities and volatility in the oil markets in the coming years. A precise price development prognosis is hardly possible due to the insecure geopolitical situation. Comparing the full costs for heating different types of buildings it is obvious that the risks of higher costs are significantly lower for renewable energies than for fossil fuel-based heating systems – for thermally non-insulated buildings the difference is up to 2,800 euros. In Austria, existing central heating boilers are considerably outdated; taking the wrong investment decisions now would result in “lock-in” effects, which would make dependency on fossil energies and many connected external factors irreversible for a long time. In Austria of the 1.7 million domestic heating boilers, 40% (= 680,000 systems) are 15 to 30 years old and therefore in need of renovation. The biggest need for action is with heating oil boilers – 390,000 systems are older than 15 years and should be exchanged soon.