Both the economy and the labour market are benefitting from the leading role Germany plays in technologies for environmental protection, renewable energies, and the efficient use of resources. The environment sector is making a considerable contribution to sustainable growth and is aiding the development of new technologies – in the fields of energy generation, ICT, and materials technology. Just under 700,000 people work in the energy sector; almost half of them in the field of renewable energies. This puts Germany among the six leading countries in terms of employment in this sector. Overall the latter is shaped by small to medium-size enterprises, though corporations such as Siemens are important players. Under the label “GreenTech Made in Germany” the companies are posting considerable export successes; their share of the global market is around 15 percent. With an “Environmental Technology Export Initiative” Germany intends to improve its situation still further and would like to position itself primarily as an integrated solutions provider.
Electromobility will be an important future issue in the environmental sector
Electromobility is also expected to give environmental and climate protection a further boost. The electromobility of the future is likewise a key issue being addressed today in China, Japan, and North America. The Federal Government and the automotive industry are jointly pursuing the ambitious goal of making Germany the leading market for electromobility and locking into the immense potential this global market has to offer. The plan is for the increasing number of electric cars to help lower carbon dioxide emissions still further, a sixth of which stems from road traffic. German car manufacturers are addressing e-mobility concepts in great depth. They are investing 40 billion euros in research and development by 2020 and aim to raise the number of models to over 100.
In order to help electric cars make their breakthrough, the Federal Government is supporting the development with buyer’s premiums, tax incentives, and comprehensive subsidies to improve the charging infrastructure. It has also considerably increased spending on energy research, with a particular focus on more powerful batteries for electric cars. The “2020 Battery” project is regarded as a showcase project and is intended to produce evolutionary, advanced materials for R&D on the most efficient battery systems.
In the meantime German and European universities and higher education institutes now offer around 1,000 innovative courses in the field of renewable energies and energy efficiency, which attract many international students.