People’s livelihoods and prosperity are reliant on a functioning energy supply system. The energy system of the future must guarantee that Germany becomes one of the most energy-efficient and environmentally sound economies in the world while retaining competitive energy prices and high levels of prosperity. Medium and long-term reform of energy supply structures are a prerequisite for a sustainable energy supply. The transformation process needed to achieve this affects both the fundaments of German industry and the country’s infrastructure. Mines, power stations, pipelines, wind farms and solar energy systems, electricity grids, vehicles, heating systems, and also roads, buildings, industrial facilities and information and communications systems must be adapted to work in the new system.
With the 6th Energy Research Programme – Research for an Environmentally Sound, Reliable and Affordable Energy Supply – the German government has set out the focus for its funding policy for the coming years. These measures are an integral part of Germany’s High-Tech Strategy. The prime aim of the Energy Research Programme is to help meet the government’s energy sector and climate change policy requirements. In addition, the pioneer role of German business in modern energy technology is to be extended, and technology opportunities secured and broadened.
To be a success, the energy switch depends largely on the extent to which new technology can be used to fulfil society’s expectations, meet people’s needs and win their acceptance and support.