Climate control is one of the most important challenges of our generation. Germany wants to be climate-neutral by 2045. What is the right way ahead to take if we are to live sustainably on this planet in the future? We are developing scenarios and instruments to plot this course. We show what needs to happen now so as to accelerate the pace of the energy transition and facilitate climate-neutral living in Germany in 2045. Energy and mobility account for about 40 per cent of a person’s carbon footprint. They are therefore a foundation stone for an eco-friendly future. Our concern is how to achieve this in a short time and at a reasonable cost.
In order to take effective energy policy measures, politicians require science-based, reliable and neutral information on which to base their decisions. To be effective, such decision bases must include both current technologies and technologies that are still in development and must furthermore comprehensively analyse their potential and future effects in the energy system. Recommendations for political action can then be derived from said analysis.
Both federal and state policy-makers draw on the expertise of the ZSW. For example, the state government of Baden-Württemberg based its climate protection law, which was passed in 2020, on a study that was led by the ZSW in cooperation with various scientific partners. The core of this study was to develop an energy scenario for Baden-Württemberg and to derive a CO₂ reduction target for the year 2030.
The success of the energy transition crucially depends on reliable framework conditions. Germany’s introduction of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) in 2000 laid the foundations in this field. The EEG replaced the Electricity Feeding Act (StromEinspG) of 1990 and has become a model for many funding systems around the world. ZSW has been providing its expertise to help politicians draft laws since 2005.
Based on scientific analysis of market integration, cost development and the impact on energy supply, ZSW experts provide reliable answers to current questions and assist the German Federal Government in meeting its reporting duties. Among other activities, ZSW heads up the research project on the evaluation of the EEG in the area of solar irradiation energy as well as managing the coordination project which examines major economic and ecological issues.
On top of this, in the context of various research projects, the scientists also support the planned systemic change towards a tender system that will determine the level of funding by 2017 at the latest.
Aside from providing secondary scientific research, ZSW also serves as an independent service provider offering green power certification under the “Grüner Strom-Label”, thereby advancing the growth of renewable energy sources beyond state funding systems.
With its work, ZSW actively impacts the various transformation processes through which the energy system is passing in the course of the energy transition. For this purpose, corresponding developments must be initiated, managed or expedited in all sectors – both at the national level and at the level of the states, regions and municipalities. Continuous observation, recording and evaluation of these developments is essential to derive recommendations for political action. For many years, these activities have been among the key tasks performed by ZSW’s System Analysis department.
Monitoring the progress of the energy transition is an important task. This is how the ZSW scientists support their Executive Chairman, Prof. Dr Frithjof Staiß, in his capacity as member of the Energy Transition Committee of the German Federal Government. On behalf of the Ministry for the Environment, Climate and the Energy Industry of Baden-Wuerttemberg, ZSW analyses both implementation and impact of the energy transition in Baden-Wuerttemberg. In addition, the ZSW experts have been drawing up the summary monitoring report on climate protection every year since 2014. This report details Baden-Wuerttemberg’s progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and compares the actual figures with the original targets.
Thanks to its high-performance information and database, which has been built up, maintained and developed over decades, ZSW is ideally qualified to carry out monitoring and evaluation tasks. The acquisition and evaluation of data, as well as meaningful data processing for different issues and stakeholders, are among the team’s core competences. Aside from numerous scientific institutions, associations and companies, its clients also include the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).
From 2004 to 2016, the System Analysis department headed up the Renewable Energy/Statistics working group (AGEE-Stat). This working group was tasked with auditing the expansion of renewable energy sources in Germany and continually updating relevant statistics. The latter serve the German Federal Government as a basis for meeting a wide range of national and international reporting obligations. Thanks to the expert committee, the success of the renewable energy expansion can be measured in figures. In addition, ZSW also assesses the economic impact resulting from the expansion of renewable energies.
On behalf of the Agency for Renewable Energies, the ZSW has also provided figures, data and facts for six comparative studies of the federal states and supports the AEE in researching and preparing data for the federal state database "Föderal-Erneuerbar". For Baden-Württemberg, the ZSW also annually reports on the expansion of renewable energies at the state level under the title "Renewable Energies in Baden-Württemberg".