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News – What`s happening in energy research

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An important issue in energy research is the development of high-temperature materials and coatings for concentrating solar thermal energy, power plants and industrial processes. For example, their thermo-mechanical fatigue is tested in halogen lamp ovens (illustration) at the Jülich Research Centre.
© Forschungszentrum Jülich
Federal government report on energy research
04.08.2014

In 2013, the German government provided a total of 809 million euros in funding for research projects on subjects such as energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.
© BMWi

Research funding for the energy turnaround increasing

Energy research contributes towards the development of the processes and technologies necessary for achieving the goals of the energy turnaround. The German government has been continuously increasing funding for energy research since 2006. In 2013 alone, it spent 100 million euros more on this than in the prior year. This reinforced above all the research areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. It provided just under 300 million euros for each of these subjects.

The energy turnaround is based above all on halving consumption of primary energy by 2050, and expanding the share of renewable energy sources in consumption to over 60 per cent. Developing the necessary technologies and processes is the central task of energy research in Germany. Last year, the German government increased expenditure on research funding in this field to 809 million euros. In particular, it provided higher funding for the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources (see chart).

A new arrangement, implemented by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel through an organisational decree dated 17 December 2013, bundled competencies for the energy turnaround at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. This meant a shift of responsibilities from the Ministries of Transport and the Environment to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. This affects above all the organisation of the application-oriented research for the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, as well as the institutional funding of the energy sector of the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
Basic research will continue to be coordinated by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture will retain responsibility for applied bioenergy research. As a result, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has the lead-management role in terms of the programmatic orientation of energy research by the German government. Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Siegmar Gabriel, commented as follows when presenting the 2014 German federal government report on energy research: “Energy research is a strategic key in terms of successful implementation of the energy turnaround. Now that energy policy has been bundled in one department, energy research for energy efficiency and renewable energy sources is now in the hands of a single body, thus enabling us to bring these two central subjects even closer together in future.” To this end, above all the research initiatives on low-temperature solar thermal energy, energy efficiency in buildings, energy-optimised construction and energy-efficient cities will be bundled structurally in one research platform, “Energy-efficient cities and communities”.

System-oriented research approaches central to the energy turnaround

“As part of the 6th Energy Research Programme, we also wish to increase the future focus in particular on system-oriented research approaches, for example in the field of sustainable electricity grids,” explained Gabriel. Inter-departmental research initiatives are part of this strategy. The German Federal Ministries for Economic Affairs and Energy as well as Education and Research initiated, for example, the joint Energy Storage Research Initiative in 2011 and the “Future-oriented grids” (Page under construction) funding initiative in 2012.
Detailed information on the project funding, institutional energy research, the research funding of the Federal States and the Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development of the European Union can be found in the German federal government report on energy research (in German).

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German federal government report on energy research (in German)
of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

Research initiative EnOB
Research projects, reports, news, and analyses for energy-optimised construction

EnEff:Stadt and EnEff:Wärme
Joint portal of the research initiatives for energy efficient cities and energy efficient heating and cooling networks

Energy storage systems
Recent reports on research, development and demonstration of energy storage systems

KraftwerkForschung
Recent reports on power plant research