In November 2015 at the COP 21 meeting in Paris chancellor Angela Merkel joined Mission Innovation. Within Mission Innovation 23 countries (incl. EU) share the commitment of doubling their investments in research, development and innovation for clean energy technologies. This is a huge step forward for the promotion of clean energy worldwide.
The transformation of our energy systems towards reliable and cost effective clean energy is a fundamental part of an effective, long-term global response to our shared climate challenge. A step-change, global effort is required to accelerate the pace of technological advance and cost reduction for clean energy. Research and development are an indispensable prerequisite to achieve these goals with our knowledge, creativity and inventive spirit being our most important resources. We need to work together with all interested countries and bundle our competencies to make a difference. Therefore, the Federal Government welcomes and supports this important international initiative Mission Innovation.
The Federal Government gained a pioneering role by orienting its energy policy towards an energy system based on high efficiency and renewable energy sources. We were thus able to cut the output of harmful greenhouse gases by about 25% between 1990 and 2012. After the earthquake disaster in Japan in March 2011 and the resulting flooding of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, the Federal Government re-assessed the role of nuclear power and set the cornerstones for an energy turnaround: nuclear phase-out and a focus on higher efficiency and renewable energy sources. This turnaround in energy policy, known as the “Energiewende”, has attracted attention worldwide. Central goals are a 50 percent reduction of primary energy consumption, the expansion of renewable energies to 60 percent of gross final energy consumption and reductions of greenhouse gases by 80 – 95 % until 2050. At present, a third of German electricity comes from wind, solar and other renewable sources. In addition energy is used more economically. The energy transition has furthermore opened up important new fields of business. New global markets have arisen in the wake of the expansion of renewable energy sources and efficient use of energy.
Nevertheless, the currently available energy technologies might not be sufficient to eventually realize these ambitious goals while preserving security of supply and a high level of prosperity. The Federal Government therefore resolutely focused its funding for research and development on technologies for the energy transition. At the core of this are intelligent solutions in the areas of energy efficiency, energy conservation, renewable energy and supply systems (including storage, grids and ancillary system services through renewable energy).
But the energy transition is not a matter of technological and economic feasibility alone. It is a national task involving every citizen and affecting all levels of policy-making. The energy transition can only be achieved if related technological advances are backed by our citizens. This requires thematically comprehensive and system-oriented research approaches. Within the framework of project funding, questions of implementation and social acceptance need to be taken into account in setting priorities for energy research.
Three Federal Ministries work in close collaboration under one comprehensive energy research programme (6th Energy Research Programme). Thereby, the competencies of the different ministries complement each other to promote and support research for the “Energiewende” along the whole innovation chain.
The Federal Government will further increase its already high efforts for clean energy research and development to support the process of the energy transition. Funding programmes will be focused on the main pillars of the 6th Energy Research Programme: energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
At the core of the 6th Energy Research Programme are the following topics and measures.
In the area of renewable energy:
In the area of energy efficiency:
Recently, the funding initiative “Kopernikus Projects for the Energy Transition” has been started. Its eponym, the famous mathematician and astronomer Nikolaus Kopernikus, stands for scientific excellence, courage, and a new conception of the world. The planned Kopernikus Projects form a comprehensive R&D initiative for the energy transition, so far dealing with the four topics: Future Grid Structures, Power-to-X, Industry Processes, and Energy Systems Integration. In these projects large consortia consisting of scientific institutions and universities, private companies, and organisations of the civil society work together for up to ten years to develop technological solutions for the transformation of the energy system. High-level representatives from over 90 institutions and organisations contributed their views and opinions to identify the four most important topics for a successful energy transition.
In addition to the previously described measures within the 6th Energy Research Programme the Federal Government will initiate new programmes which will complement existing R&D activities. An example is the SINTEG initiative, standing for “Smart Energy Showcases – Digital Agenda for the Energy Transition”. It aims to develop and demonstrate in large model regions exemplary solutions for a climate-friendly, secure and efficient energy supply with high proportions of intermittent power generation on the basis of wind and solar energy. Another example is the recently started technology introduction measure for new and innovative household fuel cell systems.
In accordance with our commitment to Mission Innovation the Federal Government intends to double its federal budget for research, development, demonstration and innovation for clean energy within five years. By 2020 the Federal Government is aiming to provide more than 900 Mio. € for funding programmes which qualify under the objectives of Mission Innovation.
The baseline is calculated by averaging the budget for project funding within the 6th Federal Energy Research Programme on renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies for Fiscal years 2012 to 2015. On average 450 Mio. € were spent in respective research areas within this period.
The funds available within the individual ministries are primarily aimed at particularly innovative energy technologies that promise to be successful in the long term and are important for Germany’s transition to a sustainable energy supply. Energy policy will therefore focus on renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage technologies and grid technology, the integration of renewable energy into the energy supply and the ways in which these technologies interact with one another. Clean Energy under this definition does not include nuclear energy.
|Industry & buildings||
|Vehicles & other transportation||
|Bio-based fuels & energy||
|Solar, wind & other renewables||
|Hydrogen & fuel cells||
|Cleaner fossil energy||
|CO2 capture, utilization & storage||
|Basic energy research||
Indicators are for key areas of Mission Innovation R&D investment but do not imply a comprehensive representation of a country’s full R&D portfolio.
Federal Government’s website
Research for Sustainable Development (FONA) – Transformation of the Energy System
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWI)
Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture
Links to Supporting Country Documents:
In addition, the Federal Government supports international energy research cooperations within Energy Technology Network of the IEA.