Press Release
2014-12-3

Minister Gabriel: We are systematising the energy transition and making energy efficiency into a second pillar

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel, and Federal Minister for the Environment, Barbara Hendricks; source: BMWi/Andreas Mertens
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel, and Federal Minister for the Environment, Barbara Hendricks
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© BMWi/Andreas Mertens

The Federal Cabinet took far-reaching decisions on energy policy today by adopting the first progress report on the energy transition, the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan and the 2020 Climate Action Programme.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel said: "We are systematising the energy transition and making it possible to plan and understand what is to come: following the reform of the Renewable Energy Sources Act and the Green Paper on the future electricity market design, we have launched the next key milestones in the implementation of the energy reforms. The progress report tells us where we stand, and reviews whether the goals of the Energy Concept are being attained. There is a particular need to act on energy efficiency and climate change. We are addressing this in the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan, and are thus making energy efficiency the second pillar of the energy transition."

On the basis of several years of data and in-depth analyses, the progress report describes the status of the energy reforms and the degree of target attainment, and also presents further measures to attain the targets and to implement the energy reforms. The independent commission of experts on the "Energy of the future" monitoring process has elaborated comments on the progress report, and the commission's chair, Prof. Dr Löschel, presented them to Minister Gabriel yesterday.

The National Energy Efficiency Action Plan aims to provide an intelligent blend of advice and information, of carrot and stick. Its key elements are the proposal to introduce tax breaks for the improvement of energy characteristics of buildings, the top-up of the CO2 building modernisation programme, and competitive auctions for energy conservation projects; the intention is to provide more than 100 million euros of funding each year. Key elements include the strengthening of the energy efficiency market - e.g. via improved guarantee services for contracting projects - and a joint initiative with the business community to establish up to 500 energy efficiency networks.

The KfW's successful CO2 building modernisation programme is being increased by Euro200m to a total of Euro2bn per year. At the same time, the tax breaks for improving the energy characteristics of buildings aim to address new target groups. The funding involved amounts to Euro1bn p.a. up to 2019. In order to implement the tax concessions for efficiency measures in the building sector, the Federal Government will engage in discussions with the Länder with a view to taking a final decision by the end of February 2015 at the latest. This means that Euro3bn per year will be available for building refurbishment alone.

Overall, the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan aims to conserve 390-460 petajoules (PJ) of energy - roughly the amount of energy consumed by Bremen and Thuringia. Further energy savings of 110-160 PJ are to be achieved in the transport sector. The measures of the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan can leverage an additional Euro80bn in investment up to 2020. If we are to achieve the national climate target for 2020, all the sectors will have to contribute to further reductions; this also applies to the power generation sector.

The Cabinet also adopted the revision of the Ordinance on the Equalisation Mechanism. This makes the setting of the EEG surcharge more transparent, and makes it easier to levy it on self-suppliers of electricity by transferring most of the responsibility to the distribution system operators.

The measures of the progress report and the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan have fed into the Environment Ministry's 2020 Climate Action Programme, which was also adopted in Cabinet today.

You can find out more about current German energy policy at www.bmwi.de.

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