Last changed: 8/05/13
What influence will rising energy prices have on our future energy mix? What effect will tightening up the Energy Saving Regulation in 2009 have on our energy balance in 2020? Will we be able to achieve a 40 % reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020? How harmful to the climate is electricity? What are policymakers doing to achieve sustainable and environmentally sound use of energy?
To fulfil all the criteria for environmentally sound use of energy and instigate an energy revolution, political approaches are needed that rank secure energy supply and climate protection equally. The German government took a significant step in this direction with the resolutions it passed at its meeting in Meseberg. Their implementation in the government’s Integrated Energy and Climate Programme has put climate protection measures on a more tangible basis.
Using analyses of energy statistics and scenarios and prognosis models, we can assess and quantify the effect of technical measures and energy policy instruments. We use this knowledge to develop proposals for effective energy and climate policy. We are continually working on refining policy approaches and feeding them into European and international decision-making processes.
Data collection and studies commissioned by the Federal Environment Agency provide important fundamental data for Germany’s energy policy.
In its database of power stations in Germany XLS / 121 KB, in German, the Federal Environment Agency collects information on all the country’s power stations that supply electricity to the national grid, industrial power stations and traction power stations for the railways from 100 MW gross electrical output per block or power station. The map showing “power stations and integrated grids in Germany” PDF / 1.80 MB, in German gives an overview of Germany’s extra-high voltage grid and where its power stations are located. The map showing power stations and wind capacity in Germany PDF / 2.85 MB, in German also gives details of the output in megawatts of each German state’s wind farms. The map showing Germany’s electricity mix PDF / 1.23 MB, in German depicts for 2007 the different energy sources’ (e.g. lignite, natural gas, wind power) share in gross electricity generation for each state.
The charts on energy-related emissions 1990–2010 PDF / 538 KB, in German show trends in energy-related emissions of greenhouse gases and selected air pollutants from 1990 to 2010. They are broken down into sectors (e.g. transport, industry, households) and depicted in an easy-to-understand form using graphs and charts. They are based on the German emission inventory’s national trend tables in German and English.
In 2010, the generation in Germany of one kilowatt hour of electricity produced on average 546 grams of CO2 . This lower value compared to the preceding year was due to greater use of renewable energy sources and a switch to low-emission fuels. The “specific emissions factor” which the UBA has calculated for 2011 on the basis of preliminary data is higher, at 564 g/kWh. The reason for this is an increase in coal-based electricity generation. The current estimate for 2012 is 576 g/kWh.
The charts showing the development of the specific carbon dioxide emissions of the German electricity mix, 1990-2012 in German show the development of specific carbon dioxide emissions over time and in a comparison with respect to the influence of the electricity trading balance.
In order to reduce CO2 emissions from electricity generation, it remains important to reduce electricity consumption, to further increase the proportion of renewable energies and to make electricity generation more efficient.
The study on ascertaining specific greenhouse gas emission factors for district heating in German investigated the specific greenhouse gas emissions associated with supplying district heating in Germany from 2000 to 2005. The high overall efficiency of the combined heat and power generation processes ensures that greenhouse gas emissions are low when district heating and electricity are co-generated.
A study in German tested against nine examples (e.g. a comparison of different kinds of household refuse collection systems) the applicability of cumulative energy consumption (CEnC) as an indicator. Cumulative energy consumption includes all primary energies that are used ("consumed") in the manufacture and use of products and services. The study showed that CEnC is a feasible indicator that can be used in making evaluations and decisions when carrying out a rough check.
From the point of view of environmental and climate protection, lignite, also known as brown coal, poses problems, one of them being the high CO2 emissions associated with it. However, the argument put forward in favour of lignite is that it is the only home-grown energy source that is not subsidised. The Federal Environment Agency has put the theory that lignite is unsubsidised under scientific scrutiny in its study “Braunkohle – ein subventionsfreier Energieträger” (Lignite: an unsubsidised source of energy?) and has come to the conclusion that this is not actually true. A background paper in German summarises the findings of the study.
Studies commissioned by the Federal Environment Agency have investigated the effects of energy policy measures that have already been put in place.
Measures to increase energy efficiency benefit both the climate and employment as investments in energy efficiency and emission reductions will bolster the position of Germany as a business location in the long term. Such investment could create around 630,000 new jobs by 2020, according to a study on macroeconomic impacts of energy efficiency measures in the housing, business and transport sectors in German, summary in German and English. In the short and medium term, the investment increase triggered by the measures analysed in the Meseberg scenarios will spur growth. In the long term, the cumulative reduction in energy expenditure caused by the measures will have a stronger effect, particularly in terms of safeguarding and creating jobs.
In August 2007, the federal cabinet held a closed meeting in Meseberg at which it approved the key points of its detailed Integrated Energy and Climate Programme. 14 pieces of primary and secondary legislation have already been introduced on the basis of this programme. The programme will play a crucial role in Germany’s efforts to achieve the target it has set itself of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 % compared with 1990 by 2020. The Integrated Energy and Climate Programme contains 29 specific measures that will gradually be implemented through primary and secondary legislation and funding programmes. An economic assessment of the measures implemented under the Integrated Energy and Climate Programme in German analysed the package’s most important measures in terms of their ecological and economic impact. How much money do house owners, consumers and industry have to spend as a result of the new legislation? And what savings – for example, due to lower energy costs for production processes or when heating private homes – might offset these investments? The main finding of the study was that climate protection in Germany is a worthwhile investment because the level of investment required is lower than the resulting energy savings. The Meseberg resolutions’ contribution to climate protection has been outlined in the Federal Environment Agency’s background paper on the effect of the Meseberg resolutions on greenhouse gas emissions in Germany in 2020 in German.
Legislation to promote generation of electricity from biomass has been in force for years now; but is it having the intended effect? Where is there scope for improvement? A study monitoring the impact of the Biomass Regulation in German, which was commissioned by the Federal Environment Agency, provides evidence that the Biomass Regulation has had a positive effect. The study shows the environmental effects connected with plants that generate electricity from biomass, i.e. from biowaste, wood waste and animal products.
Refurbishing buildings can save a great deal of energy and CO2 in the long run and thus help to protect the climate, for example by upgrading heat insulation in older buildings. How do the federal and state governments’ funding programmes need to be designed in the future to increase the refurbishment potential so that local authorities can create and make use of incentives for refurbishing buildings even with limited funds? The study on the activities of the federal government, states and local authorities and on fields of action in building refurbishment in German gives an overview of the funding landscape for building refurbishment, of possible refurbishment activities, and ideas on what the specific details of the federal government’s building refurbishment programme might look like and how it might be usefully expanded with a view to assisting local authorities.
If they are to be able to put practicable energy policy measures in place, policymakers need prognoses that are as certain as possible and that indicate what effects a proposed measure could have. Conversely, we can explore what measures should be taken to achieve a planned policy goal.
By 2020, the German government intends to have reduced CO2 emissions by up to 40 % compared with 1990. For this to succeed, legal instruments must be implemented that will lead to more efficient use of energy. What those instruments might be and how they would look in detail was investigated by energy lawyers at Lüneburg University in a study of legal concepts for more efficient use of energy (version: 01/2008) in German commissioned by the Federal Environment Agency.
A study of greenhouse gas emission scenarios up to 2030 in German comes to the conclusion that Germany is in a position to save 43 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. By 2030 the reduction could reach a figure of nearly 60%. The driving force would come mainly from the electricity sector, in which roughly 250 million tonnes of CO2 could be saved between 2005 and 2030.
In 2007, the Federal Environment Agency published a study: “Climate protection in Germany: 40% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2020 compared to 1990” in which it once more illustrated the measures Germany could put in place to reduce CO2 emissions by 2020 by 40% compared with1990. The study describes the instruments policymakers can use to implement these measures.
In this publication, the UBA presents its concept for a long-term climate protection policy which is oriented towards observed and expected climate changes. It identifies the impacts of climate change both on a global scale and in Germany and gives recommendations for adaptation measures. It describes for example the measures and instruments that need to be applied in the transport, energy supply and energy use sectors in order to prevent dangerous disturbance of the climate system.
The study on energy prices and climate protection entitled: “The Effects of High Energy Prices on Scenarios for Greenhouse Gas Emissions” Summary in German and English presents the impact of changes in oil prices on climate protection scenarios up to 2030. The results of three different scenarios (reference scenario, high-price scenario and price shock scenario) show that, even in times of high energy prices, climate protection will not just happen of its own accord - at least not in the field of electricity generation.
More renewable energies and energy efficiency, and an energy saving individual behaviour are key to reducing energy related CO2 emissions. A study carried out on behalf of the UBA analyses global energy scenarios and describes potential and costs of renewable energies and energy efficiency measures, concluding that it remains unclear why potentials are not utilised more strongly.
Climate change can only be effectively counteracted through global endeavours to reduce greenhouse gases. The Federal Environment Agency develops ideas for global climate protection concepts.
For more on international climate protection, please visit the web page on climate policy.
The Kyoto Protocol coming into force was the first step towards global climate protection. Yet there are many unresolved questions regarding a sequel to this international climate protection convention after it expires in 2012. What might binding reduction targets look like after 2012? How can the Kyoto Protocol be extended to include newly industrializing and developing countries? The study in English and German entitled “Options for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol” presents a model of how all countries could participate in reducing output of climate-damaging greenhouse gases.
More information on this is available on our web page Climate Change: Development post-2012.
The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) report “Global Energy Technology Perspectives 2006 - Scenarios & Strategies to 2050” was published in summer 2006 as a contribution to the discussion on climate protection among the G8 states begun in Gleneagles in 2005. The report gives a comprehensive overview of the current state of and possible future developments in energy provision and the CO2 emissions associated with it. The authors present a number of different scenarios and give an insight into different technologies. The Federal Environment Agency conducted its own review of the IEA study. The findings of the opinion PDF / 44 KB, in German were that, although the study contains suggestions for how to reduce CO2 emissions, none of the scenarios described achieves the target for environmental action drafted by the Federal Environment Agency, which aims to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 50 % by 2050 (baseline:1990). The most ambitious IEA scenario assumes a reduction in CO2 emissions of only 16 % by 2050 (baseline: 2003).