Wind park in the Atacama Desert, Chile

Solar, wind, hydro power, biomass and geothermal energy Development needs sustainable energy

A secure energy supply that does not have any adverse effects on the environment or the climate is a prerequisite for sustainable social and economic development: Energy is needed to grow and prepare food, heat or cool homes and schools, run hospitals and provide clean drinking water. It makes global communication and mobility possible. And without it, companies cannot produce and trade goods and create jobs.

German activities for sustainable, clean and safe energy supply

A man stands in front of a solar plant in Namibia, which consists of numerous panels.

Background Urgent need for global energy transition Internal link

Only by increasing energy efficiency and using more renewable energy can more people be given access to energy while, at the same time, protecting the environment and the global climate.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is intensively engaged in achieving a global energy transition – both in its direct cooperation with partner countries and in its cooperation with international organisations, the private sector, civil society and academia.

These joint activities are aimed at ensuring that growing energy needs, especially in developing countries and emerging economies, are met and at realising the full transition of the energy sector to renewable energies.

A needs-based and inclusive energy supply that is based on renewable sources contributes significantly to achieving the internationally agreed climate goals and also facilitates a sustainable socio-economic development.

Cooperation with partner countries

The BMZ supports its partner countries in their efforts to plan and develop such energy systems, improve the general framework for the use of renewable energy and increase energy efficiency. The aim is to close all the gaps in access to energy and achieve universal energy supply by 2030 together with partner countries and the international donor community. By 2050, energy-related sectors are to be operating in a way that emits as little climate-harming carbon dioxide as possible (decarbonisation).

Cover core area strategy energy and climate

BMZ Core Area Strategy: Responsibility for Our Planet – Climate and Energy

BMZ Paper 6

File type PDF | Date of status 07/2021 | File size 578 KB, Pages 37 Pages

Germany’s commitment focuses on three levels of energy production:

  1. Basic power supply by means of rooftop solar kits or solar lamps for households and micro enterprises in rural areas that are not connected to the national grid
  2. Energy supply for rural communities, social facilities and small and medium-sized enterprises in agriculture and manufacturing by developing decentralised mini and micro power grids
  3. Supply of major consumers and consumer centres (cities, industry, mining) by feeding electricity that is generated from renewable sources into the power grid and improving transmission networks

The BMZ is promoting the efficient use of energy and increased use of renewable sources such as wind, solar, water and geothermal energy.

In 2022 alone, some 3.8 billion euros were committed under Financial Cooperation for investments in the production, transmission and distribution of climate-friendly energy and for measures to increase energy efficiency.

In addition to this financial support, a significant contribution to the success of Germany’s development cooperation activities in the energy sector is made by Technical Cooperation. Among other things, experts are advising Germany’s partner countries on comprehensive measures to broadly improve the enabling environment and build local capacities.

In line with feminist development policy, gender equality and social participation of women and girls are focal issues that are also being addressed by a growing number of energy projects.

International engagement

Germany is a prominent advocate of sustainable and climate-neutral energy supply at the international level. The European Commission (Directorate-General for Energy (External link)), the African Union, the World Bank Group (in particular the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (External link), ESMAP) and regional development banks are among the BMZ’s closest partners.

Other important drivers of the global energy transition are the International Renewable Energy Agency (External link) (IRENA), the International Solar Alliance (External link) (ISA) and the global policy network REN21 (External link).

See also
Wind turbines in South Africa

Massive private- and public-sector investment is needed to bring about the intended energy transition. Making this joint effort a success will require a coordinated and comprehensive approach of donors and partner countries. The ambitious goals of the partner countries must go hand in hand with reliable and long-term support from donors. An example of such a successful donor coalition in support of a swift, socially equitable energy transition is the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) with South Africa.

One focus of German development policy in regard to energy is the cooperation with our partners on the African continent, a continent which has a rapidly growing demand for energy and great potential when it comes to renewable energies. Together with other EU member states Germany is working to promote the energy transition in African partner countries, for instance in the context of the Africa-EU Green Energy Initiative (AEGEI). (External link)

2030 Agenda – energy supply as the basis of sustainable development

Sustainable and needs-based energy supply is a fundamental precondition of economic and social development. That is why one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda is dedicated to energy. According to SDG 7 all people are to have access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030.

This kind of energy supply is the prerequisite for achieving other goals of the 2030 Agenda. It is the basis for reducing poverty and hunger, for improved education and health systems and it facilitates the sustainable development of cities, communities, industry and crafts and trade.

An energy transition is also a precondition for protecting the environment and the climate. That is why the Paris climate agreement also makes reference to the global development goals. The increased use of renewable energy and the efficient use of energy play a key role in the international ambition of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

German activities

Wind turbines in Rio do Fogo, Brazil

Renewable energy Internal link

The global potential in terms of renewable energy is enormous. In purely mathematical terms, sun, wind, water, geothermal power and biomass can generate a thousand times more energy than the entire global population needs. This tremendous potential is not yet being used as much as would be necessary to meet the internationally agreed binding climate targets. Developing countries, especially, lack the funds to invest in the infrastructure needed, for example power grids and energy storage.

Electricity meter

Energy efficiency Internal link

The efficient use of energy and resources to generate energy is an important prerequisite for sustainable energy supplies. Yet, a significant part of energy is still lost worldwide during production, transport or consumption. This offers huge potential for saving energy and reducing the strain on the environment. Germany is helping its partner countries to save energy and use it more efficiently.

Solar panels of a solar power plant in Ouarzazate, Morocco

Energy and climate Internal link

The world will not be able to cope with climate change without a global energy transition. A sustainable and needs-based energy supply for all must therefore be climate-neutral. Achieving this form of energy supply is a key goal of Germany's development cooperation. For more comprehensive information about the BMZ’s engagement and the most important programmes and international partnerships go to “Energy and climate”.

• Image symbolising hydrogen (H2): circles in different sizes, each surrounding the chemical molecular formula of hydrogen, H2

Green hydrogen Internal link

In order to achieve the international climate goals the use of green hydrogen which is produced exclusively on the basis of renewable energy is inevitable. Using it as a source of energy and natural resource helps to prevent the emission of carbon dioxide even in areas where using power generated from renewable sources is not an option. Germany wants to be a pioneer in this field and sees huge opportunities for developing countries. For more information, go to “Green hydrogen and Power-to-X products”.

Cooperation in action

Still from a Deutsche Welle video about training for refrigeration technicians in Kenya

Green Cooling Internal link

Energy-efficient refrigeration equipment using climate-friendly refrigerants offers great potential for avoiding emissions that are harmful to the climate. The BMZ has been promoting the spread of the “green cooling” approach since 1995.

The Azeba health centre in the Ganta Afeshum district in Ethiopia received reliable power supply through a solar system with the help of EnDev. Since electrification, the staff no longer have to rely on paraffin or torches during the evening hours. The number of births attended by medical staff increased from five per year to over two hundred.

Energising Development: access to energy for millions of people Internal link

The multi-donor partnership Energising Development (EnDev) aims to create access to modern, climate-friendly and affordable energy for a total of 28.5 million people by 2025.

Unloading of transport boats on the island Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

1,000 Islands: rural electrification through renewable energy Internal link

Outside the islands of Java and Bali, and particularly in the less developed eastern regions of Indonesia, many people still have no access to electricity. The “1000 Islands” programme utilises small hydropower plants and solar mini-grids to contribute to environmentally sound and climate-friendly energy supply and thus to social and economic development in remote regions of Indonesia.

With German support, schools in Uganda are being supplied with climate-neutral solar energy.

Uganda: solar power for schools Internal link

Uganda is a pioneer when it comes to renewables and climate action. Major progress has been achieved with German support: the country now has the first solar power station in East Africa, private investments in renewables amounting to 500 million have been mobilised (GET FiT) and the country is implementing voluntary climate protection measures as part of its Nationally Determined Contribution

As at: 25/07/2023