6th Energy Research Programme of the Federal Government

Research for an environmentally-friendly, reliable and affordable energy supply

Cover "6th energy research programme"; Source: DLR

Energy research is a strategic element of energy policy. We need modern, efficient and environmentally friendly technologies for the fundamental restructuring of our energy supply. The German government is therefore using the 6th Energy Research Programme to help companies and research establishments to research and develop technologies for the energy supply of tomorrow.

Concentration of responsibilities in the energy ministry

The new government has brought together all of the responsibilities for energy policy in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. This has had an effect on the organisation of the 6th Energy Research Programme of the Federal Government, which entered into force back on 1 September 2011 and is entitled "Research for an environmentally-friendly, reliable and affordable energy supply". The project funding for applied research in and technological development of renewable energy, which had been the responsibility of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, has been transferred to the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. This merges this funding priority with the measures on energy efficiency, thereby making it much easier to take advantage of synergies between these two areas. The project funding for the development of the use of bio-energy remains the responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is responsible for the project funding for "basic energy research" and the institutional funding for the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres (excluding the German Aerospace Center).

The 6th Energy Research Programme defines the principles and priorities for Federal Government funding for innovative energy technology and creates a basis to ensure that the modernisation of the energy supply in Germany is organised in an ecologically sound, reliable and economical manner. The funding policy targets technologies which meet the needs of the energy transition. In addition to the areas mentioned above, i. e. energy efficiency and renewable energy, the funding also focuses on new grid technologies and energy storage.

Further development of the 6th Energy Research Programme

In the "Coordination platform for energy research policy" under the leadership of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, it was agreed that the 6th Energy Research Programme should be systematically continued and developed to reflect the requirements of the new Federal Government. This ongoing development is taking place on the basis of the following four strategy lines:

  • More thematically interlinked and system-oriented research in areas of particular relevance to the energy transition (research initiatives for "power grids for the future" and "solar building / energy efficient city"),
  • greater European networking on issues with a clear European dimension through research cooperation,
  • stronger coordination and cooperation with the federal states,
  • implementation of a modern information system (EnArgus) in order to register and transparently present the diverse energy research activities, including those outside the Energy Research Programme.

From 2013 to 2016, the German government is providing about ¤3.5 billion in energy research funding to promote the research and development of modern energy technology. In this way, the energy research programme is making an important contribution to ensuring that the restructuring of the power supply in Germany is carried out in a secure and economical manner.

The German government also funds research and development of forward-looking energy technologies in areas outside its energy research programme. This involves projects in other programmes which do not place the main emphasis on energy policy aspects, such as transport and aviation research and the promotion of technology for small and medium-sized businesses.

The Federal Government's advisory service for "Research" and "Innovation" is the first point of contact for all matters related to the funding of research and innovation. It informs potential applicants about funding programmes and contact points and about the latest funding initiatives. Its services include a support service for companies to guide them through the system, tailored particularly to the needs of small and medium-sized companies.

Federal report on energy research

In the annual federal report on energy research, the German government complies with one of the guidelines of the 6th Energy Research Programme: creating transparency about funding policies and providing more comprehensive information about the development of action to promote new energy technologies. On 30 July 2014, Economic Affairs Minister Sigmar Gabriel presented the 2014 federal report on energy research to the German Cabinet.

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