Germany to champion energy efficiency with $19.4bn investment

Date: 17 May 2016

Germany’s energy minister has announced massive investment in energy efficient technologies to take place over the next five years.

Sigmar Gabriel said the country will invest €17 billion ($19.4 billion) in a “broad campaign”, dubbed ‘Effizienzoffensive’, with an ultimate goal of halving energy consumption by 2050.
Minister Sigmar Gabriel with Effizienzoffensive document
“The cleanest and cheapest energy is that which is not consumed.  We need to not only firmly anchor this principle in our energy policy, but we also need a shift in consciousness in our society,” Gabriel said, according to a release published by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
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“By investing in energy efficiency technologies, we will modernise our country, strengthen innovation and the competitiveness of our economy, reduce our dependence on imported raw materials and … create sustainable jobs for our future employees.”

The initiative is aimed at helping the country reach emissions reduction targets adopted both domestically and as part of the Paris Agreement, and could also have an impact on EU carbon prices if it reduces demand for power and heating in Germany, the 28-nation bloc’s top economy and emitter.

‘Effizienzoffensive’will comprise of four programmes including:

  • A competitive tender to find the most cost-effective energy saving measures;
  • A pilot programme promoting smart metering;
  • An initiative to improve the recovery of waste heat, and;
  • An initiative to promote cross-cutting technologies, namely those that enhance the efficiency of energy output or its use.

“In practical terms, (the aim is) to halve the energy consumption by 2050, which corresponds mathematically to the current combined energy consumption of the Benelux countries and Austria,” the ministry said.

The policy will have a simultaneous public awareness campaign referred to as ‘Germany makes it efficiently’.

The ministry said a significant increase in energy efficiency is a required for the success of the country’s Energiewende policy, adding that an expansion in renewable energy sources alone won’t be enough to hit the country’s emissions reduction targets.

Germany has pledged to slash its greenhouse gas output by 40 per cent below 1990 levels, but has only achieved cuts of around 27 per cent to date.

Agreements with utilities to idle lignite coal power plants should help cut emissions to 11-12.5 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020. Meanwhile supplementary measures have been introduced to boost combined heat and power (CHP) sources, which it estimates will lead to reductions of a further 4 million tonnes by the end of the decade.