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Topic - The Energy Transition

The energy transition is making progress

Introduction

The energy transition is our pathway to a future that is secure, environmentally-friendly, and economically successful. We have decided to fundamentally alter Germany’s energy supply: away from nuclear energy and towards renewable energy. By 2020, at least 35% of our energy is to be sourced from renewable energy, and we want to raise this to at least 80% by 2050. Also, we are aiming to use energy more and more efficiently.

We have already achieved a great deal: today, almost one third of our electricity comes from wind, solar and biomass. This makes renewables our number-one source of electricity.

Prospects for new jobs and new markets

The energy transition has opened up important new fields of business. All around the globe, new markets for expanding renewable energy and using energy efficiently have emerged. German enterprises play a major role here and create many jobs in the process.

Becoming more energy-efficient

Our energy is not only becoming greener: we are also using it more economically. Primary energy consumption has been cut significantly in recent years in Germany – by 8.3% between 2008 and 2014. You can find out more about what we are trying to achieve in terms of energy efficiency, and how we are going about it, in the “Energy Efficiency” dossier.

The energy transition in buildings

Around 35% of our total final energy consumption takes place in our homes, and most of it is used to provide heating and hot water. Where there is a lot of consumption, there will also be a lot of potential for energy savings. That is why the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is supporting the energy transition in the building sector, offering comprehensive advice and attractive funding programmes. Find out more in the “Buildings” dossier.

And everyone can help save energy – consumers, businesses, municipalities. How people can play their part can be seen in the broad-based PR campaign entitled “Deutschland macht’s effizient” (in German), which the Ministry is using to raise awareness and encourage public participation.

Innovative: modern grids, high-performance storage and smart meters

An energy supply which is based on renewable energy creates challenges: In future, a large proportion of our electricity will be fed in to the grid from generators scattered around the country, and some of it will need to be transported over large distances, such as the electricity generated from wind power in the north, which has to get across to the centres of consumption in the south of the country. Expanding the major supra-regional transmission grids and the local distribution grids is therefore a key task. At the same time, consumption and conventional generation need to become much more flexible. By digitising the energy transition with smart meters, we want to bring the generation and consumption of energy more in line with each other, and to develop potential for energy conservation.

Four energy transition targets

35%
Symbolicon für Grüner Strom

of the electricity consumed in Germany
to be covered by renewables by 2020

20%
Symbolicon für Wachstumskurve

less primary energy consumption
by 2020 (from 2008)

40%
Symbolicon für Schornsteine

less greenhouse gas emissions
by 2020 (from 1990)

10%
Symbolicon für Elektroauto

less final energy consumption in transport
by 2020 (from 2005)

Strategy and objectives

A systematic approach to success

We won’t manage to fundamentally restructure Germany’s energy supply overnight. The energy transition is to be rolled out gradually. Such a task for entire generations will only succeed if we have a clear compass, a precise roadmap and good cooperation.

The orientation for the energy transition is provided by the Federal Government’s Energy Concept, further decisions by the Bundestag, and European rules. A new chapter in the energy transition was opened on 8 July 2016 when the Bundestag and Bundesrat adopted three pieces of legislation: on the further development of the electricity market, on the digitisation of the energy transition, and on the revision of the Renewable Energy Sources Act.

In passing this legislation, we have succeeded in bringing the various strands of the energy transition together. Up until now, renewable energy, the electricity market, energy efficiency, the grids and digitisation have each been treated as separate elements. What we have done is to turn these all into a consistent overall framework. This is the biggest reform of the electricity market since the deregulation of the 1990s. We are continuing to integrate renewable energy into the electricity market, are creating the electricity market 2.0 – a market fit for integrating a growing share of renewables – and are enabling the development of a digital infrastructure that is capable of connecting more than 1.5 million electricity producers and large-scale consumers. Moving forward together at European level is more efficient than pursuing national strategies unilaterally. This is why our reforms are anchored in the European internal market.

There are clear goals for all the areas of the energy transition – electricity, heat and transport. The focus is on two core objectives: Firstly, the energy supply should be increasingly based on renewable energy. Secondly, energy should be used more and more efficiently.

A target architecture for the energy transition

Monitoring the progress towards the targets of the energy transition – and deriving specific measures from this: That is the task of the target architecture for the energy transition. It prioritises the various quantitative goals of the Federal Government’s Energy Concept and imposes a clear structure on them. In the target architecture of the energy transition and the specific measures, the Federal Government is aiming to deploy low-cost solutions and optimal system integration for renewables. This will put the conditions in place to ensure that energy remains affordable for consumers.

Find out more about the target architecture here.

The overview of legislation covering the energy supply system (in German) presents and summarises the most important legal texts within German and European energy policy.

Aktuelle Publikationen zur Energiewende

10-point agenda

A clear roadmap for the energy transition

We have already achieved so much – but we still have some major challenges ahead of us. We have summed up the next steps we need to take to meet these challenges in a “10-point energy agenda”.

This sets out the key projects in the energy transition during the 18th legislative term. It also harmonises the various fields of action in terms of substance and timing.

The energy reforms: the key projects

The energy reforms: the key projects; Source: BMWi Enlarge

© BMWi

Progress report and monitoring

Monitoring and steering the energy transition

The Federal Government is monitoring the development of the energy transition: Where do we stand on the energy transition? What action has been taken, and what is planned? And are we meeting the targets?

The monitoring of the energy transition aims to review the implementation of the Energy Concept and the Federal Government’s programme of measures, and to take action if the targets are being missed. The monitoring of the energy transition aims to review the implementation of the Energy Concept and the Federal Government’s programme of measures, and to take action if the targets are being missed.

Annual monitoring and the progress report

The main thrust of the monitoring can be found in the annual monitoring report. It reflects the status of the energy transition and shows where further action is required. Every three years, the monitoring report is supplemented by a strategic progress report. The progress report offers scope for deeper analysis and identifies trends. The report also looks at whether we are on track to attain the long-term targets of the energy transition, and at what additional measures might need to be taken.

Also involved in the process is an independent commission of experts, who provide a scientific opinion on the Monitoring Report.

You can find out more about the monitoring process and the monitoring reports, and see the comments by the commission of experts from recent years here.

Solaranlage zum Thema Erneuerbare Energien; Source: iStock.com/nullplus

© iStock.com/nullplus

A task for everyone

Getting the stakeholders on board

The energy transition will only succeed if we work together: It is a joint task involving not only all the levels of government, but also the business community and society in general. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy coordinates the close and ongoing dialogue between the relevant stakeholders. This also creates a high level of transparency, contributing to greater public acceptance of the energy transition.

To improve the coordination within the Federal Government, responsibilities for the field of energy policy were pooled in the new Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy at the start of 2014. This avoids frictions, permits an “energy policy from one source” and offers the advantage of being able to cover the energy market in its entirety.

The energy transition platforms: everyone around one table

The Economic Affairs Ministry is constantly exchanging information with representatives from the Länder, business and industry, society, science and research in high-level energy transition platforms. This facilitates the development of solutions and strategies for key action fields in the energy transition.

Find out more about the five energy transition platforms:

Coordination between the Federal and Länder Governments

The Federal Government and the Länder are coordinating the implementation of the energy transition on a continuous basis. Every half-year, meetings take place between the Federal Chancellor and the Federal Economic Affairs Minister with the heads of the Länder in order to discuss the status of the energy reforms. The Ministers of the Federal Government and Länder in charge furthermore consult with each other at the biannual Economic Affairs Ministers Conference on their priorities and the next steps in the energy transition.

In its brochure “Who is Who der Energiewende in Deutschland” (PDF: 6,7 MB; in German), the Federal Foreign Office has compiled a list of the key contacts in government, business and society.

Offshore wind farm; Source: ABB