Draft German Energy Concept Released

The Ministry for the Environment (BMU) and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) today released their joint Energy Concept (Energiekonzept). The nuclear power extension compromise is only one of nine areas that the new Energy Concept covers.

The Energy Concept is still in draft form. The parliamentary groups of the ruling CDU, CSU and FDP have been invited to comment on it.


The Energy Concept wants to provide guidelines for an environmentally-friendly, reliable and affordable energy supply, and outlines what the government considers to be the necessary steps on the road to the age of renewable energy.

In accordance with the government’s coalition agreement, greenhouse gas emissions shall be reduced by 40% until 2020 and by at least 80% until 2050. This translates into minus 55% until 2030, minus 70% until 2040 and minus 80% until 2050, all compared to 1990.

In 2020 renewables shall account for 18% of gross final energy consumption (Bruttoendenergieverbrauch). This shall increase to 60% in 2050. In 2020, 35% of gross electricity consumption (Bruttostromverbrauch) shall be provided by renewables. Until 2050 this amount shall increase to 80%. Compared to 2008, primary energy consumption shall decrease by 20% until 2020 and by 50% until 2050. This will require an increase of energy productivity of 2.1% per year.

In all, the Energy Concept has identified nine key areas that it addresses:

  1. Renewable energies
  2. Energy efficiency
  3. Nuclear and conventional power plants
  4. Grid infrastructure
  5. Energy-efficient renovation
  6. Mobility
  7. Energy research
  8. International energy supply
  9. Acceptance and transparency

Renewable Energies

The renewable energy section calls renewables an increasingly important pillar of the energy supply, which are at the same time a driving force for innovation and modernization of the energy infrastructure. To expand renewables in a cost-efficient way, the government wants to align the Renewable Energy Source Act (EEG) more with market conditions so that the expansion of renewables will be more market-oriented. In this respect the government mentions the recent cuts of solar feed-in tariffs.

The draft considers offshore wind energy of great importance. As the expansion target of 25 GW by 2030 makes investments of EUR 75 billion necessary, the government wants to promote the construction of the first 10 offshore wind parks with a special EUR 5 billion financing program. The scheme shall be run by KfW and shall be set up in 2011.

As the energy concept believes onshore wind energy will provide the most efficient short and medium-term potential for the expansion of renewable energy, the legal and planning framework shall be improved.

The government also strives for the sustainable and efficient use of biomass. Biomass is considered an important energy form because it can easily be stored.

Energy Efficiency

The government considers energy efficiency a vital topic. It sees great potential to save energy and electricity. To this end, it wants to provide financial incentives as well as more information and advice to consumers on all levels. As of 2013, tax reductions on the electricity and energy tax shall only be granted to companies that have introduced energy management systems. Medium-sized companies shall have access to programs promoting energy efficiency. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology will set up an efficiency fund promoting certain energy efficiency activities of or for consumers, companies and municipalities with EUR 500 million per year. The National Climate Protection Initiative shall receive an additional EUR 200 million per year as of 2011.

Nuclear Energy and Conventional Power Plants

The government intends to extend the operating times for nuclear power plans on a staggered basis for an average of 12 years. Nuclear power plants that started operating in or before 1980 will get an additional 8 years, newer plants will get an extension of 14 years. To ensure a functioning load management, sufficient investments in suitable plants, especially flexible coal- and gas-fired power plants as well as renewable power plants are necessary, the government points out. The development of CCS technology shall be supported.

Electricity Grid

One of the longest chapters of the Energy Concept deals with the electricity grid. As a modern and efficient grid is of paramount importance for the electricity supply with an increasing amount of renewable energy, the government wants to develop a concept for the grid needed in 2050. From this 2050 grid concept, it wants to derive conclusions about necessary grid infrastructure investments. The concept shall include the following areas: the expansion of the existing grid, plans for an overlay grid and possible pilot lines, a North Sea grid, cluster connections for offshore wind parks, and the integration of the German grid with the European grid. Based on a ten-year grid expansion plan, which the grid operators shall be required to develop, the government wants to develop a federal grid plan (Bundesnetzplan).

Planning and permitting procedures for power lines shall be accelerated. The government will examine whether the regulatory framework for grid expansion has to be amended. “Investments in modernization and grid expansion have to be financially attractive”, the energy concept expressly states.

The government wants to introduce the legal framework for smart meters as well as for systems integrating energy operators, consumers and storage systems. Besides, the legal framework for cluster connections of offshore wind parks shall be created.

Furthermore, the chapter outlines the necessary measures for the gradual integration of renewables and the expansion of storage capacities.

Energy-Efficient Renovation

Residential and commercial buildings account for 40% of the energy consumption, providing great savings potential for energy and CO2 emission savings, the Energy Concept says. Therefore, the main target is to reduce the required heat in such a way that 2050 will see almost carbon neutral buildings. This requires doubling the rate at which energy-efficient renovations take place from 1% to 2% per year.

To this end, the government wants to develop a long-term road-map for renovations, including measures – mainly financial incentives – that encourage renovations.


The mobility chapter deals with the strategy to get 1 million electric cars on German roads by 2020, and five million by 2030. Another important aspect of this section is the announcement to increase investments in railroad infrastructure, focusing on points of great relevance for the railway system.

Energy Research

The government is planning to launch a comprehensive energy research program in 2011, outlining key points until 2020 and beyond. The focus will be on renewable energies, energy efficiency, energy storage and grid technologies, and the integration of renewable energies in the energy supply chain.

The federal budget for energy research shall increase by EUR 300 million per year. In view of the need to modernize the German energy supply in the coming years, the focus will mainly be on application-oriented research.

European and International Energy Supply

The Energy Concept stresses that the transformation of the energy supply towards a modern, low CO2 and safe supply can only be solved in the European and international context. International climate protection agreements have to be reached to avoid a distortion of competition to the detriment of countries at the vanguard of climate protection.

The government will support an integrated European grid and the implementation of the Third Internal Energy Market Package. Within the framework of the International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP), the government will strive to integrate the European emission trading system with those of countries that already have emission trading systems in place or are planning to establish them.

Acceptance and Transparency

The final chapter of the Energy Concept addresses public acceptance and transparency. A sustainable energy supply with its necessary infrastructure can only be achieved if the energy policy is clear and transparent. Hence, the government wants to establish an internet site “Sustainable Energy Supply” with relevant facts as well as a forum for dialogue.

Source: Draft Energy Concept BMU/BMWI

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