03 Mar 2022, 13:52
Sören Amelang

Efficiency industry calls for massive energy saving initiative to cut import dependence

Clean Energy Wire

Germany must launch an "energy-saving package of historic dimensions" to reduce its dependence on Russian energy imports, the country's Industry Initiative for Energy Efficiency (DENEFF) has said. "Saving energy has become a question of national and European security," the lobby group's managing director Christian Noll said. "We need to tap into the silent reserve of efficiency – it's a strategic resource." He lamented that current discussions about lowering energy import dependence solely focused on supply and neglected the massive potential of demand cuts. "A conversion of supply will not be sufficient to close the gap," Noll said, with reference to gas imports from Russia. "Filling up gas storages won't be enough, we must lower demand."

The industry group said sizeable energy savings could be achieved rapidly and at low cost in private households and companies, but stressed that both needed public financial support, such as in the form of unbureaucratic vouchers for energy saving investments. It also called on the government to launch a broad media campaign to motivate citizens and companies to do their part to lower energy demand not just through technical solutions, but also behaviour change. In addition, the government should establish an ambitious national energy saving target. As a longer-term measure, Deneff said the government should earmark 20 billion euros per year for energy-efficient home renovations.

Most experts agree that the potential for untapped energy savings remains huge, which is why the issue has been dubbed the “sleeping giant” of the Energiewende. But progress in increasing energy efficiency has been slow, especially in the building sector. German homes are fossil energy guzzlers – a big hurdle on the path to greenhouse gas neutrality.

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