Energy and climate

German activities

Sustainable energy for all

Wind farm near Zafarana, Egypt

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) supports the expansion of sustainable energy systems worldwide. The BMZ is currently supporting energy projects in more than 40 partner countries. In 26 of these countries, energy is a priority area of cooperation. In 2014 and 2015 alone, the BMZ spent more than four billion euros on developing sustainable and climate-friendly energy systems in different parts of the world. In terms of funding volume, energy is one of the largest single items in the German development cooperation budget – and its share is continuing to grow.

Needs-based, reliable, sustainable energy for all

Germany mainly supports approaches that consider the partner country's entire energy system and foster the triple strands of renewable energy, energy efficiency and access to sustainable energy. With the help of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, Germany seeks to help reduce energy poverty and decarbonise the energy sector.

German cooperation programmes in the energy sector focus on creating needs-based, reliable, sustainable energy supplies for all. This means that sustainably generated energy of sufficient quality must be available at the right place at the right time in sufficient quantities.

Under its development cooperation programmes, Germany offers its partners tailor-made solutions to create or improve energy access at the household level, for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and for social institutions, all the way to industry needs. In order to facilitate that, Germany assists its partners in creating the requisite administrative, legal, political and financial environment. This matches partner countries' need to increase energy supplies while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In order to assist partner countries in making this transition, the BMZ also draws on experience from Germany's energy transition. What technologies have proven successful so far? What legal framework should be put in place? What factors are – or are not – conducive to success? The insights Germany has gained can be applied elsewhere. Germany will therefore continue to be a committed and reliable partner in issues of sustainable energy.

Bilateral activities: Facilitating the transition to a sustainable energy supply

Through its bilateral cooperation programmes, the BMZ helps its partners create favourable conditions for a sustainable energy supply and open up the market for renewable energy and energy efficiency products. German development cooperation provides advice on new laws, strategies, feed-in tariffs, tax rates and subsidy reforms. It assists with the establishment of energy agencies and trains local experts. It raises awareness through education campaigns and supports the dialogue between government representatives, business and civil society.

In order to kick-start the market for sustainable energy, the BMZ is providing not only expertise but also capital in many countries. For example, credit lines for climate-friendly products are set up via national development banks. The money is used, for instance, to promote the use of energy-efficient household appliances in Mexico, and to build low-energy buildings in India and various Eastern European countries. As banks in many countries are still reluctant to provide loans for renewable energies or energy efficiency projects, such credit lines can do much to encourage further expansion.

Assisting developing countries and emerging economies

Workers at the solar power station in Ouarzazate, currently the largest solar power station in the world
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Workers at the solar power station in Ouarzazate, currently the largest solar power station in the world

One of the largest solar parks of the world is being operated in Ouarzazate, Morocco. The facility is continuously being expanded. It is intended to provide climate-friendly power for at least 1.3 million people. This will save about 800,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year compared to conventional power generation. Germany is providing reduced-interest loans totalling more than 800 million euros, which makes it the largest supporter of the project. The project is also receiving funding from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), the African Development Bank and other donors.

India is also being helped to realise its ambitious plans for the expansion of renewables. Through the Indo-German Energy Programme, Germany is advising its Indian partners on issues such as integrating the increasing quantities of electricity from clean energy sources into the national grid, because the greatest potential for renewable energy in India can be found at some distance from its industrial and economic centres. In other words, the electricity must be brought to where it is needed. To that end, India is continuously working – with German support – to expand what are called "green corridors". The corridors are intended to complement existing power networks and remedy regional disparities.

Brazil has huge untapped potential for using wind and solar power. In this emerging economy, demand for energy is high. But the potential for further expanding large-scale hydropower generation has declined drastically over the past few years. Through its development cooperation, Germany is supporting Brazilian partners in developing a wind data system in order to better assess the potential for wind power in various places. Germany has also helped the country introduce feed-in tariff regulations for power from decentralised installations. Nationwide, Germany financed nine wind farms with a total capacity of 450 megawatts, which is equivalent to about 10 per cent of total installed wind power capacity in Brazil. The wind parks financed under the various programmes are saving more than eight million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.

In South Africa, too, German development cooperation is supporting the expansion of renewables. There is an ambitious programme for the creation of an enabling environment. In addition, Germany has committed 300 million euros to expanding the country's electricity networks and is advising the national energy supplier ESKOM on how to integrate energy from renewable sources in the grid. The total capacity of renewable power plants in South Africa that have been connected to the grid has now reached over 3,300 megawatts.

Electricity from renewable sources also plays an important part in ensuring access to energy in rural parts of the world. Among other things, Germany is supporting efforts in Uganda to provide energy for the remote West Nile region. More than 60,000 people and many companies in that region are now getting all their power from a small hydropower station. There are plans to build a second hydropower plant. The electricity is distributed via a new independent grid, which has been expanded considerably with German funding. This improves local people's living conditions and facilitates climate-friendly local economic development.

Africa Renewable Energy Initiative

Logo: Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI)

Together with other industrialised countries, Germany supports the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI). It was launched with African partners at the G7 Summit in Germany in June 2015 and officially founded six months later at the World Climate Conference in Paris.

This is an African-led initiative. Its purpose is to increase renewable energy generation capacity in Africa by 10 gigawatts by 2020. By 2030, the total increase in such capacity is to reach 300 gigawatts. At the Paris climate conference, the G7, Sweden, the Netherlands and the European Commission pledged ten billion US dollars for the period up to 2020 to support the goals of AREI, that is, the promotion of renewable energy in Africa. This support is to be provided through existing channels of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. The largest pledges came from Germany and France, which committed three billion euros each.

In 2016, Germany was the largest bilateral donor for renewable energy in Africa, with a total of 1.2 billion euros. This funding was invested in the expansion of climate-friendly energy systems in Africa, transmission and distribution of sustainably produced electricity and technical cooperation in this area. At present, Germany is supporting energy projects in more than 20 African countries through bilateral cooperation.

Infographic: Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI)
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Infographic: Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI)

Multilateral activities: Working together for a sustainable energy future

At the multilateral level, too, Germany is working to support sustainable, climate-friendly energy systems. It focuses, in particular, on collaboration with international partners and initiatives such as the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the renewable energy policy network REN21 and the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative.

Through the Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP), the BMZ is helping to expand the market for renewable energy in Africa. Broader exchange and cooperation between energy players from Africa and Europe is being facilitated by the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP). AEEP is helping both sides to jointly overcome challenges in the European and African energy sectors.

Energy is also an important issue in the BMZ's cooperation with multilateral development banks. The BMZ supports the banks' efforts to align their funding policies with the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement requires international financial flows to promote development that is geared to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and boosting resilience to climate change.

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