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Ampel-Monitor Energiewende (Monitor of the German "Traffic Light" Coalition’s Energy Transition Targets)

Energy targets of the German government - and where we are today

Why "traffic light"?

The current German government consists of a coalition between the SPD, FDP, and Greens, commonly referred to as the "Ampelkoalition", or traffic light coalition. This is based on the party colors of red, yellow, and green.

The German government has set itself a number of concrete targets to drive forward the energy transition. Many of these relate to the year 2030, and in some areas they are also formulated for the longer term, up to the year 2045. Some quantitative targets were already mentioned in the coalition agreement of the so-called traffic light coalition. Since then, new targets have followed as part of various ministry publications and draft legislation, and in some cases the targets stated in the coalition agreement have been made more specific or more stringent in the process. Achieving the targets is important if Germany is to meet its climate protection commitments. In addition, greater independence from fossil energy imports has become even more important in the context of the Russian attack on Ukraine.

This page presents a selection of indicators from the Ampel-Monitor Energiewende. The German version of this page contains some additional information and may also be more up to date than this English version. The complete set of indicators, including the underlying data, is available open source on the Open Energy Tracker data platform, which is regularly updated and expanded. English and French translations are also available there.

The Ampel-Monitor Energiewende is currently based on 15 indicators for renewable electricity generation, renewable heat, electromobility, hydrogen and energy consumption. The respective government targets are visualized with the help of interactive graphics and regularly compared with the current status actually achieved. A selection of graphs is shown on this page. For illustration purposes, a linear progression between the status at the beginning of the current legislative period and the respective target year is usually shown, as the exact paths to achieve these targets were often not specified in concrete terms by the government.

For most indicators, projections of current trends based on the ordinary least squares method are also presented. These are generally based on the period of the past twelve months as well as the period from 2017 to 2021. Indicators are based on publicly available data that are updated either monthly or annually.

In addition, results of the scenario analysis of the Kopernicus project Ariadne, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, are compared. These are scenarios that show different paths to climate neutrality for Germany in 2045.

Comparison of current status with 2030 targets for selected indicators

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The Ampel-­Monitor Energiewende shows that there is a large gap between the current status and the government's targets for 2030 for most of the indicators considered. A selection of seven important indicators is shown here. The gaps are largest for green hydrogen and electromobility, followed by the expansion of offshore wind power, photovoltaics and heat pumps.

© DIW Berlin

What is more, the current pace of the transition is significantly too low for almost all indicators to achieve the 2030 targets. Comparing the expansion trend of the past twelve months with the pace needed to achieve the 2030 targets, onshore wind power and even more so offshore wind power currently lag behind photovoltaics. This indicates a particularly acute need for action on wind power. The pace of electromobility is also still clearly too slow; here, growth must pick up very strongly in the next few years.

All figures are interactive: in the upper right area of each figure there are buttons for zooming. Individual time series can be shown or hidden by clicking in the legend. Currently, the figures are only optimized for display on a computer screen; we are working on providing adequate resolutions for cell phones as well.

Installed PV capacity

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For photovoltaics, the coalition government has presented an expansion target of 215 gigawatts (GW) in 2030 as part of the currently planned amendment to the EEG. At the start of the traffic light coalition in early December 2021, the installed capacity in Germany was only a good quarter of this, at just over 58 GW. To achieve the target, an average of 1.44 GW per month must be added by the end of 2030, with an increasing expansion path from 2022 to 2026. This expansion relates to net capacity additions, i.e., taking into account plants that will be taken off the grid in the future. The trend in PV expansion over the past twelve months has been much lower, at 0.45 GW per month. To reach the 215 GW target, expansion must be more than three times faster than the trend over the past twelve months - and even nearly five times faster than the trend from 2017 to 2021. However, the expansion path proposed in the EEG amendment for 2022 calls for just under 0.6 GW per month, which has actually been achieved so far due to higher additions in February and March. After 2030, PV capacity is expected to continue to grow substantially to 400 GW in 2040. These government targets are at the upper end of the corridor spanned by the Ariadne project scenarios, and even above it in 2040 - so they tend to be more ambitious.

Installed onshore wind capacity

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For onshore wind power, the planned EEG amendment specifies a target of 115 GW of installed capacity in 2030. At the end of November 2021, it was around half of that, at just under 56 GW. To achieve the target, a net average of 0.54 GW per month must be added by the end of 2030. The trend over the past twelve months was only 0.13 GW per month, so the pace of expansion must be quadrupled. However, the expansion path proposed in the EEG amendment for 2022 only envisages an addition of around 0.2 GW per month; however, not even this target is currently being achieved. After 2030, the government is aiming for a further significant increase in capacity to 157 GW in 2035. The coalition's targets for onshore wind expansion are roughly in the middle of the Ariadne scenario corridor, so they appear to be similarly ambitious. This corridor is broader than that for photovoltaics, so the models differ more substantially here.

Installed offshore wind capacity

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For offshore wind power, the coalition is aiming for a capacity of at least 30 GW by 2030. At the beginning of December 2021, when the traffic light coalition started, the installed capacity in German waters was only a good quarter of this, at 7.8 GW. In order to achieve the expansion target, a net average of 0.20 GW per month must be added by 2030. In the past twelve months, no new offshore wind turbines were connected to the grid at all. The trend from 2017 to 2021 was around 0.07 GW per month - this rate will have to be almost tripled for the 2030 target. Even after that, installed capacity should continue to grow strongly, to at least 40 GW in 2035 and at least 70 GW in 2045. These targets are in the upper range of the Ariadne scenario corridor, which is even broader than that for onshore wind power. By 2030, the federal government's targets are above the Ariadne scenarios.

A key prerequisite for the expansion of onshore wind power is the availability of appropriate land. Nationwide, only 0.7 percent of land was legally designated for onshore wind energy at the end of 2020. The goal of the traffic light coalition is to designate two percent of the federal territory for wind power by 2032, and 1.4 percent of the federal territory by the end of 2026. More information and an illustration of this can be found in the Open Energy Tracker.

Share of renewable energy in the electricity sector

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The governing coalition aims to increase the share of renewables in gross electricity consumption to 80 percent by 2030. Five years later, according to the "Easter Package," the electricity supply is then to be based "almost entirely" on renewable energy. In 2020, the share was 45.1 percent; in 2021, it was only 41.9 percent, although these figures are not yet final. This decline is likely largely explained by two factors: first, in 2020, overall electricity consumption declined due to the pandemic, so the share of renewables increased despite only a small expansion. Then, in 2021, electricity consumption increased again. Second, the wind year in 2021 was relatively poor.

To meet the 2030 target, the share must grow by more than four percentage points per year on average from 2021 onward - in the period from 2017 to 2021, the trend growth was only about two percentage points per year. The coalition's targets for the share of renewables lie within the corridor spanned by the Ariadne scenarios.

To supplement this, the figure can also show the shares of renewables in net electricity generation (NEG). They are statistically available with a much smaller delay than the shares in gross electricity consumption (GEC). The shares in NEG are generally higher than those in GEC, partly because GEC is higher than NEG due to self-consumption of power plants.

Heat pump stock

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Heat pumps play a major role in many future scenarios, especially for space heating, because they use electricity to harness environmental heat and are therefore very energy-efficient (see DIW Weekly Report 22/2022). In its coalition agreement, the government did not set a specific target for the expansion of heat pumps. However, the Eröffnungsbilanz Klimaschutz document provided by BMWK mentions a corridor of "4.1 to 6 million heat pumps" in 2030. The middle of this corridor, i.e. around five million heat pumps, can be presented indicatively as a government target. At the end of 2021, around 1.4 million heat pumps were installed in Germany. By 2030, therefore, around 0.4 million units must be added each year, compared with only a good 0.1 million per year in the trend from 2017 to 2021. The government target lies within the corridor spanned by the Ariadne scenarios in 2030. After that, the heat pump stock in the Ariadne scenarios continues to grow strongly, to just under 13 million to just over 16 million units in 2030.

Share of renewable energy of final energy consumption for heating

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The coalition agreement provides for "a very high share" of renewable energy in heating. However, it does not contain an explicit target for the share, only the formulation that half of the heat must be generated in a "climate-neutral" way by 2030. However, since other options such as imported carbon-neutral hydrogen or CO2 capture in the heat sector seem unrealistic by 2030, this target can be taken as a de facto target for renewables. In 2021, their share of final energy consumption for heating and cooling in Germany was 16.5 percent. Accordingly, this share must increase by almost four percentage points a year until 2030. Since 2012, it has not even increased by three percentage points overall, or by around 0.5 percentage points per year in the trend from 2017 to 2021. In this respect, the traffic light coalition’s plans for the heating sector appear to
be particularly ambitious. One concrete measure for achieving the 2030 target is the planned introduction of a requirement that new heating systems must be operated with at least 65 percent renewable heat as early as 2024.

Battery electric car stock

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In the coalition agreement, the government set a target of "at least 15 million fully electric passenger cars by 2030". Since significant shares of passenger cars with hydrogen fuel cells now seem implausible, this target can largely be regarded as a target for purely battery-electric vehicles (excluding plug-in hybrids). At the start of the traffic light coalition in early December 2021, there were around 587,000 purely battery-electric passenger cars in Germany. To reach the target, an average of around 132,000 vehicles per month will have to be added by 2030. The trend over the past twelve months was just under 28,000 electric cars per month, partly due to problems in the supply chains and long delivery times for electric vehicles. So growth has to be nearly five times that. The linear progression assumed here is purely illustrative. In reality, an s-curve expansion path is more likely. In addition to the purchase premiums currently being granted, a ban on new registrations of cars with internal combustion engines, as will probably soon be decided at EU level for 2035, is likely to make a further contribution to increasing the battery-electric car fleet.

Public charging points

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In the coalition agreement, the government set a target of "one million publicly and non-discriminatorily accessible charging points by 2030, with a focus on fast-charging infrastructure". At the end of November 2021, just under 54,000 charging points were in operation, including around 46,000 normal charging points and 8,000 fast charging points. This means that by 2030, an average of around 8,700 new charging points will have to go into operation every month. The trend over the past twelve months was just over 1,200 per month. Compared with this trend, the expansion of the charging infrastructure must increase by a factor of seven.

Installed electrolysis capacity

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The coalition agreement mentions "an electrolysis capacity of around 10 gigawatts in 2030" as a target. At the beginning of October 2021, electrolysers with an electrical capacity of just 61 megawatts (MW) were in operation in Germany. Consistent more recent data is not available at the moment. According to this, an average of around 90 MW per month will have to be added by the end of 2030. As in the case of battery electric vehicles, the linear progression shown is purely illustrative. In reality, an expansion path in the form of an S-curve is more likely. The target for 2030 is in the upper range of the corridor spanned by the Ariadne scenarios. The German government has not yet set concrete targets for the period after 2030. The Ariadne scenario corridor becomes very broad by 2045 because of the existing uncertainty about the long-term role of domestic hydrogen electrolysis.