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21 Oct 2021, 13:32
Charlotte Nijhuis

Energy efficiency as important as renewables expansion for German climate policy - scientists

Clean Energy Wire

More than 60 energy scientists call for improving energy efficiency policy in an open letter to the German government, arguing it would be as important as building more renewable power installations for successful emissions reduction. The current neglect of energy efficiency measures could unnecessarily lead to rising energy costs, reduce industry competitiveness and higher energy dependency, write Peter Hennicke of the Wuppertal Institute, Eberhard Jochem of university ETH Zurich and IREES and Hans-Joachim Ziesing, formerly economic research institute DIW and energy research group AGEB. In the letter addressed to German parliamentarians that was signed by a total of 60 scientists as well as businesses, investors and the media, the signatories warn that further ignoring efficiency measures could ultimately undermine the energy transition's social acceptance. "Using energy much more efficiently is just as indispensable as a cornerstone of the energy transition as the more rapid expansion of renewable energies," said Hennicke. “However, energy efficiency is neglected time and again - unfortunately also again in the current results of the exploratory talks by the SPD, Greens and FDP," he added, referring to the parties currently in negotiations to form a coalition. Ziesing pointed out that energy-efficient measures can reduce costs of the energy transition, because "they enable us to get to 100 percent renewable energy faster and at the same time make us less dependent on energy imports”.

A recent survey by the German Industry Initiative for Energy Efficiency (DENEFF) showed that investing in efficiency measures is much more appreciated by citizens than increased energy costs, with almost 60 percent of respondents saying the government should "massively support" investments especially in energy-efficient buildings. Unnecessarily high costs due to a lack of efficiency measures could contribute to an erosion of the energy transition's acceptance if coupled with politically-induced price increases like carbon pricing.

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