Sound advice: Germany’s energy transition is a model worldwide for climate change mitigation

01.11.2016 – GIZ is helping countries such as Brazil drive forward their own energy transition by improving energy efficiency and climate change mitigation. Germany provides a role model.

At the Climate Change Conference in Paris at the end of 2015, the international community set itself an ambitious target: global warming should be limited to two degrees. Around the world, Germany is seen as a model of good practice for environmental protection and renewable energies. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, too, has been working in the fields of environmental protection and climate change mitigation for over 20 years, and today one in three of GIZ’s projects addresses these issues. On behalf of the German Government and other commissioning parties and clients, GIZ is promoting the expansion of wind, solar and hydropower in more than 30 countries.

‘An African colleague once told me, that the fact that Germany had made renewable energy commercially viable will prove to be the greatest development programme of all time’, commented German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks yesterday in Berlin. As a panel member in an event in the ‘Changing World’ series, organised by GIZ in cooperation with the Tagesspiegel newspaper, she was taking part in a discussion with Claudia Kemfert of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) and Tanja Gönner, Chair of GIZ’s Management Board. One of the topics was how Germany can motivate other countries to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. ‘Germany’s transition to renewable energies has made it a role model worldwide – which some people might find surprising given the ongoing debate in our own country,’ said Gönner.

Germany’s Renewable Energy Sources Act, which governs how clean electricity is fed into the grid, has provided the blueprint for legislation in many other countries. Brazil is one example. On behalf of the German Development Ministry, GIZ has supported the country in putting in place a framework for expanding solar power. Today, anyone building their own house in Brazil can install a solar panel on their roof and feed electricity into the national grid. That benefits householders – and increases the share of green energy in Brazil.

And that’s not all. Despite the favourable situation for solar power in Brazil, warm water is often still heated with natural gas. On behalf of the German Environment Ministry, GIZ has been assisting Brazil in harnessing the sun’s energy in this area too. Following completion of the first 500 residential units in Rio de Janeiro fitted with solar panels for heating water, the Brazilian Government has now made the use of solar thermal energy compulsory for new social housing. This means that in the years ahead, around 800,000 new homes will be equipped with solar panels.