Press Release, Berlin

Energy transition: approach open to a range of technologies offers the most benefits

In its Study 'Integrated Energy Transition', dena makes recommendations for coalition negotiations / Available technologies will enable 90 per cent fewer CO2 emissions by 2050 / Sectoral targets in the Climate Action Plan 2050 not yet optimised / The course must be set now / Kuhlmann: ‘Climate protection requires competition and innovation.’

Germany can reduce its CO2 emissions by up to 90 per cent by 2050, if today’s technologies are used optimally in an ambitious transformation path. For this, the regulatory framework in the energy industry will need to be geared consistently – right from the start of the new legislative term – towards allowing climate protection technologies to prove themselves in a competitive market. The sectoral targets determined in the Climate Action Plan 2050 for the year 2030 are not yet fully aligned with the markers set. This is a first interim summary drawn up from the Study, which the Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) – the German Energy Agency – is currently conducting, along with scientific experts and more than 50 companies and industry associations from all sectors involved in the energy transition.

‘The energy transition is achievable if we approach it with determination, an openness to a range of technologies, and broad dialogue,’ said dena’s Chief Executive, Andreas Kuhlmann, on presenting the interim summary in Berlin. ‘This is precisely how we’re approaching our study. We’re bringing all industries and sectors to one table: energy production and distribution, buildings, industry and mobility. Together we’re working on transformation paths that are practical and goal-oriented. The dena Study Integrated Energy Transition invites policymakers to identify and enable the best transformation paths possible, also from the perspective of businesses. It’s clear to us now that we’ll make the best progress if we create the right conditions for competition and innovation. Scenarios that depend on a mix of technologies appear in the dena Study to be more economical and robust than those which have a high degree of bias towards electrification. For this we need long-term planning for incentives to encourage energy efficiency and avoid CO2, which will have to be achieved through a radical reform of current systems of taxes, duties and reallocation charges. With coalition negotiations imminent, politicians have it in their power to determine the course to be taken.’

Three scenarios: projection, electrification, mix of technologies

The dena Study Integrated Energy Transition examines three scenarios. The first is a projected scenario which extrapolates from present circumstances and market trends, as well as from current political decisions. The climate protection target of 80 to 95 per cent fewer CO2 emissions in 2050 compared to 1990 will clearly not be attained in this scenario. By 2050 CO2 emissions can be reduced by 60 per cent at best. The second scenario depends on widespread electrification in industry, buildings and transport, and would lead to a significant increase in the demand for electricity. In this case CO2 emissions could be reduced by up to 90 per cent.

The third scenario allows for a broad mix of technologies. Compared with the electrification scenario, this mixed technology scenario would lead to a higher proportion of gas and liquid fuels that would be produced synthetically using renewable energy sources, and mostly imported. Likewise, it would enable a 90 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions. In addition, it would offer several benefits. It would make better use of existing infrastructures and infrastructures that would be required in the future, and would combine the benefits of various kinds of infrastructure in an integrated energy system. The costs of converting plants and systems to climate-friendly energy sources are low, because in the various areas of application the most economical technologies would come into play accordingly. Moreover, a mix of technologies would reduce the need to upgrade the electricity grid, particularly at distribution grid level. Finally, security of supply would be more easily guaranteed, since more storable energy sources would be available.

More prerequisites: more energy efficiency, more renewable energy, more grids

There are a few trends that run through all of the scenarios in the dena Study Integrated Energy Transition. The expansion of renewable energy will have to be undertaken at the highest level, and energy efficiency in households, industry, trade and transport must be increased considerably. It will require a significant infrastructure upgrade, particularly in the electricity grid. Efforts in research and development will have to be redoubled in order to stimulate innovation and bring innovations swiftly onto the market. This applies in particular to those industrial processes for which today’s technology offers no climate-friendly alternatives.

In any case, Germany will be dependent on close cooperation with other countries – whether it be to even out fluctuations in the grid, import climate-friendly sources of energy, promote the development of essential energy transition technologies, or obtain international agreements on cutting CO2 in energy-intensive industries or areas of application. In view of the size and complexity of the changes necessitated by the energy transition, success will ultimately depend to a large extent on the general population being convinced of the opportunities and benefits in the long term.

Integrated energy transition as a model

The dena Study Integrated Energy Transition helps us to better understand the dimensions of the energy transition. At the same time, we can also see what approach we need to take if we are to turn it into a model for success,’ said Andreas Kuhlmann. ‘What's particularly helpful here is having a model for an integrated energy transition. An integrated energy transition involves the coordination of a growing number of components from all sectors, while combining different kinds of infrastructure and various markets in an intelligent and sustainable system. Every sector has specific requirements, regulatory frameworks, infrastructures and market mechanisms. In the dena Study we take all of these factors into consideration. We link discussions that up to now have only focused on individual industries, and look for the most efficient and most effective solutions in dialogue with the parties concerned.

Our interim summary is designed to stimulate political debate, particularly ahead of the upcoming coalition negotiations and the revision of the Climate Action Plan 2050. We’re offering politicians an insight into the points of view of those who are putting the energy transition and climate protection into practice. We need to consider these points of view if we want to come up with practicable, efficient and widely accepted solutions for an integrated energy transition.’

dena Study Integrated Energy Transition

The interim summary is the result of the first phase of the dena Study Integrated Energy Transition. For this, the partners involved worked together to define three scenarios, including superordinate parameters such as population growth, interest rates, technological developments and energy prices. In addition, opportunities for development were established in the energy production and distribution sectors, as well as in buildings, industry and mobility, and interdependency was explored. Extensive modelling enabled an analysis of how the climate policy targets could be achieved.

During the second phase, further sensitivities will be modelled, and further questions of plausibility and feasibility will be discussed. There will also be the matter of finding ways of reducing CO2 emissions further, so that they are down by 95 per cent by 2050. The final results will be available in mid-2018. The aim is to identify the frameworks, solutions and planning options required for an optimised and sustainable energy system by 2050.

The paper, ‘Interim conclusion: dena Study Integrated Energy Transition – Ideas and Findings from the Research Process’ is available online at (in German).

The integrated energy transition and the Study will also be a theme of the dena Congress on 20 and 21 November in Berlin. The dena Congress will provide the first opportunity since the federal election to discuss the future of the energy transition at a cross-sectoral conference. For more information, visit

Partners in the dena Study Integrated Energy Transition

More than 50 partners from industry and science are involved in conducting the dena Study, including energy providers, grid operators, consultancy firms and industrial companies from all sectors, as well as industry associations and research institutes: 50Hertz Transmission, Aurubis AG, BASF SE, bayernets GmbH, BayWa r.e. renewable energy GmbH, Bundesverband der Deutschen Heizungsindustrie (Federation of the German Heating Industry) e.V. (BDH) / IG GmbH, BID Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Immobilienwirtschaft (Federal Real Estate Association), Bundesindustrieverband Technische Gebäudeausrüstung (Federal Industrial Association of Building Services) e.V., Bundesverband energieeffiziente Gebäudehülle (Federal Association of Energy-Efficient Building Envelopes) (BuVEG), Bundesverband Erneuerbare Energie (German Renewable Energy Federation) e.V. (BEE), Bundesverband Wärmepumpe (Federal Heat Pump Association) e.V. (BWP), Bundesvereinigung Bauwirtschaft (Federal Construction Industry Association), Covestro AG, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Mauerwerks- und Wohnungsbau (German Society for Masonry and Housing Construction) e.V. (DGfM), DREWAG NETZ GmbH, DVGW Deutsche Vereinigung des Gas- und Wasserfaches (German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water) e.V., E.ON SE, Energienetze Mittelrhein GmbH & Co. KG, ENERTRAG AG EWE AG, erdgas schwaben GmbH, ESWE Versorgungs AG, EWE Netz GmbH, GASAG AG, Gasunie Deutschland Services GmbH, GP JOULE GmbH, Harz Energie Netz GmbH, Hydro Aluminium Deutschland GmbH, innogy SE, Institut für Wärme und Oeltechnik (Institute of Heating and Oil Technology) e.V. (IWO), Lechwerke AG, LEW Verteilnetz GmbH, Marquard & Bahls AG, MDN Main-Donau Netzgesellschaft mbH, Mineralölwirtschaftsverband (Oil Industry Association) e.V., Mitsubishi International GmbH, Mitteldeutsche Netzgesellschaft Strom mbH, N-ERGIE AG, noventic, Nowega GmbH, ONTRAS Gastransport GmbH, Open Grid Europe GmbH, OsthessenNetz GmbH, Power Plus Communications AG, Reiner Lemoine Institut gGmbH, RhönEnergie Fulda GmbH, schwaben netz GmbH, Siemens AG, Stadtwerke Wiesbaden Netz GmbH, Team Consult G.P.E. GmbH, TEN Thüringer Energienetze GmbH & Co. KG, TenneT TSO GmbH, terranets bw GmbH, Thüga Aktiengesellschaft, Thüga Energienetze GmbH, Thüringer Energie AG (Teag), Thyssengas GmbH, TransnetBW, Trimet Aluminium SE, UNITI Bundesverband (Federal Association), UPM GmbH, Verband Fenster + Fassade (Association of Windows + Façades), Viessmann Werke GmbH & Co. KG and Zukunft Erdgas GmbH.

The chief scientific consultants are ewi Energy Research & Scenarios gGmbH with a team led by Managing Director, Dr. Harald Hecking, supported by technical consultants, ef.Ruhr GmbH, Prof. Bert Oschatz DEng (ITG Dresden), Prof. Andreas Holm DEng (FIW Munich), Prof. Peter Radgen and Dr. Frank May. dena’s pilot study is supported by an advisory board with representatives from politics, science and the community, led by Prof. Dirk Uwe Sauer, Chair of the Directorate of the project ‘ESYS Energiesysteme der Zukunft (Phase 2)’ (Energy Systems of the Future) at the Deutsche Akademie der Technikwissenschaften (National Academy of Science and Engineering), acatech.

More information about the dena Study Integrated Energy Transition at