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04 Mar 2021, 12:28
Julian Wettengel

Recent progress towards energy transition targets only temporary – McKinsey

Clean Energy Wire

The favourable effects of the coronavirus pandemic on many of Germany’s energy transition targets in 2020 are only temporary, consultancy McKinsey found in its bi-annual Energiewende Index, which tracks the progress of the German energy transition. “The main driver of the improvement in the past half-year was not real progress in implementing the energy transition, but the effects of the measures to combat COVID-19,” said the report’s co-author, Thomas Vahlenkamp. Overall greenhouse gas emissions, for example, “will in all likelihood return to their pre-crisis level” because of the expected economic recovery, said McKinsey. The same goes for the reduction of primary energy consumption, which was driven mainly by scaled down economic activity.

The consultancy gave the most positive assessment since the introduction of the index in 2012. McKinsey said that ten of the 15 energy transition targets for 2030 chosen by the consultancy are still realistically achievable, but six of these are on the brink of failure, like greenhouse gas emissions and energy use. The only very realistic targets are renewables’ share in power consumption, energy costs of households, German import capacities, and few power outages. In its previous edition of the index in September 2020, McKinsey said the pandemic had delayed many renewables projects and particularly slowed the rollout of wind power.

The coronavirus outbreak has led to an unprecedented drop in economic activity in many countries around the world, leading to an annual drop in global greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 not seen since WWII. At the same time, the pandemic led to concerns that climate action and other environmental policies could be swept aside in hasty attempts to prevent a deep recession. However, stimulus programmes in Germany, Europe and beyond have often put climate action at the centre of efforts to ‘build back better’.

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