Making Progress with the "Energiewende"

"Energy Transformation Now!" Enlarge image (© dpa/picture-alliance)

The first Government monitoring report entitled “Energy of the Future” shows that Germany’s Energiewende – the transformation of its energy system – is on course. As part of the “Energy of the Future” monitoring process, the German Government takes stock of progress made with the Energiewende each year.

Transforming the energy system is a major challenge, but it also opens up immense opportunities. It breaks new ground in many areas. This is why it is important for it to be monitored closely and continuously, and it is also why the German Government established the monitoring process. The annual report, compiled jointly by the Federal Economic Affairs Ministry and the Federal Environment Ministry, highlights the progress made towards meeting the targets and takes stock of the steps taken to implement the pertinent political decisions.

A detailed progress report will be published every three years from 2014. It will be based on data from several years, as used in the monitoring report, and will provide an opportunity for more detailed analysis. The monitoring process has scientific support – an independent commission comprising four renowned energy experts has been set up to advise the ministries.

Success to date

The German Government set itself a number of ambitious targets for the Energiewende, but perhaps the most ambitious was the Energy Concept of 2010. The first report,  dealing with the 2011 reporting year, shows that the Energiewende is progressing well in all key areas:

  • Gross electricity consumption in 2011 was around 1.5 percent below the level of the previous year and 2.1 percent lower than in 2008.
  • In 2011, the share of renewables in gross final energy consumption rose to over 12 percent.
  • By 2011 an overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 26.4 percent against 1990 levels had been achieved.
  • The foundations have already been laid for speeding up grid expansion.

Measures to implement the Energiewende

Energiewende in Deutschland Enlarge image (© dpa/picture-alliance) The German Government has established effective structures and work flows for steering and coordinating the transformation of the energy system, which ensure broad participation by all stakeholders. Key elements include a steering group at state secretary level, biannual energy summits between the Federal Chancellor and the Minister-Presidents of Germany’s regions, regular consultations with the regions and a dialogue with various other stakeholders through the grid platform, the power plant forum and the renewable energies platform.

Progress has certainly been made, but there is still a long way to go. Major efforts are still needed to achieve the ambitious energy and climate targets. Better use must be made of potential efficiency savings in order to reduce energy consumption in all sectors. Renewables must be further expanded, and the fleet of power stations restructured in a way that guarantees energy security. Lastly, grid expansion and efficiency must be a priority.

Power grid

Key Messages on German Climate and Energy Policy

The German government knows, that a progressive climate policy is vital for a healthy economy. The German government has developed a comprehensive energy concept on the basis of scientific studies, which covers the triangle of energy policy: energy security, economics and climate protection.

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

Economic efficiency, security of supply and environmental compatibility: these are the central aims of German energy policy. In Germany, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has the lead responsibility for the formulation and implementation of energy policy.