No energy transition without energy efficiency
There is no better area than energy efficiency to demonstrate how banks serve the real economy and contribute to the social and environmental aspects of sustainability while creating returns.
How can the energy transition succeed? „Energy efficiency in buildings as the central element of future energy policy“ –This was the theme of a conference with high-level participants that the Federation of German Industry (BDI) held on September 14th, 2012, in the atrium of Deutsche Bank in Charlottenstraße in Berlin.
The energy transition in Germany can only succeed if a significant improvement in energy efficiency is achieved in addition to switching sources of energy supply. Improvements in the building sector play an important role in this respect, because more than 40 percent of energy consumption in Germany and the EU results from the operation of buildings.
There is no better area than energy efficiency to demonstrate how banks serve the real economy and contribute to the social and environmental aspects of sustainability while creating returns. “The financial sector and Deutsche Bank are important partners as far as the achievement of Germany’s goals with regard to the energy transition and energy efficiency are concerned,” said Harald Eisenach, executive board member of Deutsche Bank in Berlin. Mr. Eisenach highlighted Deutsche Bank’s efforts to improve energy efficiency in our own buildings and transform this expertise into financial products. This includes the mandate for the European Energy Efficiency Fund as well as retail branch loans for upgrading the efficiency of homes and buildings and thought leadership on the best models for financing energy efficiency.
With this introduction, representatives from the political sector, society and industry discussed tasks that have to be tackled and opportunities that will arise. “The energy transition will be decided by two aspects: technical feasibility and the political framework,” explained Holger Lösch, a member of the general executive board of BDI.
Federal Minister of the Environment Peter Altmaier announced that energy efficiency will be a “top priority issue” for the political sector as of October 2012: “For the first time since the Second World War, we have the opportunity to install a radical horizontal energy efficiency programme.” In conjunction with the energy conservation law, negotiations on the introduction of additional options for depreciation allowances are being conducted with the federal states – an approach that was welcomed unanimously during the podium discussion. The general view was that depreciation allowances could have the same effect as an economic stimulus package. However, the discussion panel criticised the delay in implementation on the part of the political sector, which has led to uncertainty and a wait-and-see attitude.
In his talk, Federal Minister of Economics Philipp Rösler argued in favour of replacing the currently huge number of approaches to subsidising efficiency measures with one single market economy based tool. However, he indicated that it is necessary to think about the subsidy rates for renewable energies. Rösler said that if there is a realistic prospect of the latter achieving a market share of 35 percent in future, they would no longer be a niche market.
The goal of improved energy efficiency remained undisputed despite all of the different views relating to details: the energy transition is aimed at creating a foundation for an energy system with future viability in Germany – a system in which energy-efficient buildings constitute a fundamental element.