Energiewirtschaftliches Institut an der Universität zu Köln gGmbH

The integrated energy transition is stagnating in Germany

The integrated energy transition is stagnating in Germany
Eine Analyse von dena und EWI zeigt: In vielen Bereichen stockt die Energiewende.

September 16, 2019. The German energy transition is stagnating in many areas. Various indicators show that there are currently no incentives for a rapid and cross-sectoral reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Final energy consumption in the transport, buildings and industry sector has risen further since 2015 instead of falling. The expansion of renewable energies has also been slow recently. This is shown by the joint study “Impulses for the current climate policy debate – assessments based on the dena study Integrated Energy Transition” by the German Energy Agency (dena) and the Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne (EWI).

The analysis compares the changes between 2015 (base year of the dena study Integrated Energy Transition) and today with the transformation paths and model results in 2030. The EWI figures show: The efficiency improvements in the sectors assumed in the dena study cannot be observed. Regarding the expansion of renewable energies, particularly in wind energy, a significant decline is expected.

Deficits in renewable energy expansion, battery electric vehicles and buildings

Max Gierkink, Manager at EWI: “The reductions in consumption and renewable energy expansion paths assumed in the dena study are not being observed. For the scenarios of the dena study, this means that the developments assumed will need to occur later and that a faster transformation rate will be required until 2030 in order to achieve the climate targets.”

In the analysis, the authors quantify the deficits:

  • The expected annual increase in renewable energy expansion is 1.7 gigawatts net. This is just under one third of the minimum 6 gigawatts per year required until 2030.
  • Final energy consumption in the industry sector rose by 9 terawatt hours between 2015 and 2017. It would need to decline by 32 terawatt hours by 2030, despite an increase in gross domestic product.
  • Final energy consumption in the transport sector rose by 22 terawatt hours between 2015 and 2017. The necessary decrease until 2030 is as high as 174 terawatt hours.
  • The number of electric vehicles increased by 30,000 between 2015 and 2018, but an average increase of 460,000 vehicles per year would be necessary; the figures for natural gas vehicles are high as well.
  • In the buildings sector, the renovation rate is around 1 percent per year, in 2018 it was only 0.8 percent. According to the dena study, it should have risen to 1.4 percent as from 2015. To get back on track concerning building refurbishments, the rate would need to rise to 1.5 percent.
  • The diffusion of heat pumps is also progressing more slowly than planned. Although more heat pumps are being installed, in 2018 there were 84,000 new installations. But more than 200,000 units per year would be necessary.

Based on the analysis of the key figures by the EWI, dena develops comprehensive recommendations for action so that Germany can still achieve the its climate target in 2030.