Greentech – A Sector with a Future
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 environmental 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. This is evident, most significantly, in the area of wind energy, where the Energy Transition is truly an engine for jobs. Almost 14 percent (160,000) of all jobs in the wind energy industry worldwide are based in Germany, which puts it in second place in a global comparison. Overall, the industry 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. By 2030, according to the Federal Government, between seven and ten million electric vehicles will be registered in Germany. The plan is for the increasing number of electric cars to help lower greenhouse gas emissions still further, a fifth of which stem from road traffic. To ensure the success of e-mobility, Germany needs a sufficient number of public charging stations. The objective is for one million of these available by 2030; to this end, the German cabinet agreed a “masterplan for charging station infrastructure” at the end of 2019.
German car manufacturers are also addressing e-mobility concepts in great depth. They will have invested 40 billion euros in research and development by 2020 and aim to raise the number of models to over 100.
Making local public transport more attractive
The Federal Government also aims to make local public transport more attractive. Spending in this area is therefore to be increased to one billion euros each year from 2021 – with the federal share even rising to two billion from 2025. The additional money will go towards expanding the local public transport network, as well as providing incentives for the use of bus fleets running on electric, hydrogen-based and biogas engines. One in two city buses should be electric by 2030. The Climate Protection Programme also provided for a reduction in VAT on rail tickets for regional transportation from 19 to seven percent at the end of 2019.
In order to promote the breakthrough of electric cars, the Federal Government is supporting the development with buyer’s premiums, tax incentives, and comprehensive subsidies to improve the charging infrastructure. Here too, incentives from the Climate Protection Programme have been boosted further. The Federal Government 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.