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 helping the development of new technologies – in the fields of energy generation, ICT, and materials technology. Around two million people work in the environmental technology sector; almost every fifth job is labelled “green”. This puts Germany among the ten leading countries in terms of empl oyment in the various segments of the renewable energy 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 there to be around one million electric cars on Germany’s roads by 2020, helping lower carbon dioxide emissions still further, a sixth of which stems from road traffic. The German car manufacturers are addressing e-mobility concepts in great depth and have around 29 electric models in their ranges (as at the end of 2015), including vehicles such as the BMW i3. In order to help electric cars make their breakthrough, the Federal Government has promised that owners of such vehicles will be allowed to use bus lanes, will enjoy reserved parking spaces, and special registration plates. 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.