Germany takes on target of slashing primary energy use by a third

Germany has officially adopted the target of cutting primary energy use by nearly one third by 2030.

Consumption is supposed to decrease by 30 percent compared to 2008, according to the country's Energy Efficiency Strategy 2050 adopted by the federal cabinet.

The strategy also defines measures intended to improve energy efficiency in buildings, industry, transport and agriculture – including tax incentives for energy efficient building renovations, more energy counselling and the expansion of district heating networks.

In the area of industrial process heat, the strategy aims to save 50 terawatt hours (TWh) and 12 million tonnes of CO2 per year, partly by boosting the use of excess heat. The government has pledged to provide €50 million (£42.5 million) in additional funds per year to the federal package promoting energy efficiency in industry.

The strategy also states that a dialogue process with stakeholders from industry, civil society, federal states and research institutes will develop measures to halve Germany's primary energy use by 2050. "The more energy-efficient our economy is, the more competitive and future-proof it is," commented economy minister Peter Altmaier.

The 30 percent target would, however, not be enough for Germany to reach its goal of becoming climate neutral by 2050, the German Industry Initiative for Energy Efficiency (DENEFF) noted. The tax incentives for building renovations, which are expected to be decided on by a mediation committee, nevertheless made this an "important day for climate action", said DENEFF's managing director Christian Noll. WWF Germany also criticised the government strategy as insufficient and called for raising the efficiency target to at least 38 percent by 2030.

Germany has also reported that offshore wind output is expected to grow 25% in the country in 2019 to 24 terrawatt-hours, up from over 19TWh last year, according to preliminary data.

Overall, renewabes consumption in the country will reach almost 43%, up from just over 38% in 2018, according to analysis by the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Wurttemberg (ZSW) and the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW).

Although Germany has succeeded in decoupling its energy use from economic growth, developments in energy efficiency "lag 10 years and 10 percentage points behind targets," Noll said at the beginning of the year. Germany is aiming for a 20 percent cut in primary energy consumption by 2020, but in 2018, it was only about 10 percent lower than in the baseline year 2008.

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