• 1000

Germany wants to be climate neutral by 2045. This cannot be achieved without the decarbonisation of companies. This means that fossil fuels such as coal and gas must be largely dispensed with in the future. 

The energy industry plays a key role on the way there: according to the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), it is currently the largest emitter, accounting for about 33 percent of total German CO2 emissions. 

The interim goal here is to cover 80 percent of the electricity demand from domestic renewable energy sources by 2030. A rapid expansion of onshore and offshore wind farms as well as solar parks is therefore essential. However, an important condition remains: the domestic energy supply must be secured, also in order to reduce import dependencies and to keep energy prices as low as possible. 

If this succeeds, a lot has already been achieved on the path to climate neutrality. Nevertheless, it is not enough. The companies themselves must also become active in decarbonisation. The difficulty here is that every industry faces different challenges - and requires its own specific measures.


Green hydrogen is an opportunity, but other solutions are needed in the short term

Green hydrogen is an opportunity, but other solutions are needed in the short termaFor example, industry currently still obtains large amounts of energy from fossil fuels and, according to the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), is currently responsible for around 24 percent of German greenhouse gas emissions. The goal should therefore be to reduce process-related emissions in the value chains. 

To achieve this, new processes must be developed in some cases, such as for the energetic or material use of green hydrogen. According to the National Hydrogen Council, the most important areas of application are in the steel and chemical industries. However, until an economically sensible shift away from fossil fuels can be achieved here, further measures are necessary in the short to medium term. These include, above all, increasing energy efficiency in order to reduce primary energy demand and thus emissions. The consistent use of waste heat and cold offers a solution here.

Transportation and traffic

Electromobility with green electricity or e-fuels

The transport and traffic sectors, currently responsible for around 19 percent of German greenhouse gas emissions according to the UBA, are focusing primarily on electromobility for climate protection, even in heavy-duty traffic. In order to meet the corresponding electricity demand in a climate-friendly way, the simultaneous decarbonisation of the energy industry already mentioned and the expansion of the electricity grids are essential. Furthermore, in addition to advanced biofuels, synthetic fuels or e-fuels based on green hydrogen, fuel cells are a promising option in rail and heavy-duty transport. However, these are also dependent on green hydrogen to ultimately be climate-friendly.

Other possible solutions to reduce transport-related greenhouse gas emissions: More infrastructure for bicycles, more attractive local public transport (LPT) and more support for alternative mobility concepts such as car sharing with electric vehicles.


Much has already been achieved through energy-efficient construction

In the building sector, however, which according to the UBA is responsible for around 15 percent of CO₂ emissions, other solutions are needed. After all, a large part of these emissions are caused by heating in private households. After all, thanks to energy-efficient new buildings and energy-efficient renovation of existing buildings, emissions have been reduced by around 40 percent since 1990 to about 120 million tonnes of CO₂. By 2030, emissions are to be almost halved again and fall to 67 million tonnes of CO₂.

One step along the way is the legally mandated technology change from old oil and gas heating systems to climate-friendly, efficient systems. From 2026, the installation of pure oil heating systems will no longer be permitted under the Building Energy Act (GEG) if climate-friendly heat generation is possible. 

Nearly emission-free heat is provided, for example, by heat pumps that use environmental heat and obtain green electricity for their operation, e.g. from on-site photovoltaic systems. Solar thermal collector systems, combined heat and power plants or local and district heating networks based on green energy are also climate-friendly heat suppliers. In addition, the federal government has been promoting the replacement of old oil heating systems with energy-efficient heating systems since the beginning of 2020 with a subsidy of up to 45 percent. 

Existing buildings offer further savings potential 

Even beyond the heating system, there is considerable energy-saving and climate protection potential in the energy-efficient refurbishment of old existing buildings. Of the approximately 22 million houses in Germany, about 12.5 million residential buildings date from before 1977 - and were thus built before the first ordinance on energy-saving thermal insulation. Energy-efficient refurbishment of these buildings is often challenging, but replacing the heating systems is nevertheless a promising building block on the way to a climate-neutral building stock in Germany.

In conclusion, it is clear that the decarbonisation of sectors and companies is a complex challenge. Which solution suits which company can vary and depend on a wide range of individual factors. 

Contact our decarbonisation strategies team to find out how we can support you individually.