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UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai: Federal Government presents Germany’s contribution to accelerating the global energy transition

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At the start of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP) in Dubai, more than 120 countries issued a joint declaration committing to tripling global renewable energy capacity by 2030 and doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency. Germany is in favour of including this goal, together with the phase-out of fossil fuels, in the final declaration of the conference. In the declaration, the signatories commit to driving forward the energy transition in their countries and express their willingness to work together at global level. On today's COP28 day on energy, a ministerial meeting of representatives from over 40 selected countries will be held on the Global Goals for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Stefan Wenzel, and State Secretary for Development, Jochen Flasbarth, today presented Germany's contribution to this goal.

Parliamentary State Secretary Stefan Wenzel: “The global energy transition is entering a new phase. Almost two thirds of the signatory states to the Paris Agreement have committed to tripling the installed capacity for renewable energy, doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and phasing out fossil fuels. This means that what were a few major players in the energy transition can now become many worldwide. This is a major opportunity and provides a strong tailwind for achieving an ambitious outcome at the World Climate Conference. Together with our partners in industrialised, emerging and developing countries, we are determined to accelerate the expansion of renewables on a large scale worldwide – through easier legal requirements and public funding. The aim for the negotiations up to the end of COP28 now is to win over as many countries as possible in favour of these global expansion targets which would send a decisive signal to markets and investors."

State Secretary for Development Jochen Flasbarth: "We need to phase out the use of coal, oil and gas as quickly as possible. To be able to do this, it is essential to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030. This is not only important for putting economic development on a climate-friendly path, but also for combating poverty. Millions of people still have no access to energy, especially in Africa. At the conference in Dubai, Germany has not only committed itself to the energy transition in its own country, but also to engaging in global cooperation. Here, we are working closely with our partner countries to find solutions. For example, we will increasingly focus our vocational training activities on training skilled workers for the energy transition. After all, the switch to a renewable energy economy requires not only technology, but also expertise."

Germany has set itself national expansion targets to contribute to achieving the joint global goals by the end of this decade: by 2030, 80 per cent of electricity is to be generated from renewables, notably by115 GW of onshore wind energy, 30 GW of offshore wind energy and 215 GW of solar energy which are to be installed by this date.

At the same time, the installed capacity across the EU is to be expanded as well, with a further 12 billion cubic metres of gas to be replaced by renewables. In the EU, the share of renewable energy is set to increase to 45 per cent by 2030. To achieve this, many rules have been adopted to facilitate the expansion of wind and solar power plants. These include more standardised and manageable rules for nature conservation and legal options to speed up the approval procedures for new facilities.

The second part of the Dubai Declaration envisages working with partner countries to create the conditions for a global energy transition. Germany is currently working closely with around 50 countries on boosting the energy transition.

Tangible progress has been made at the UN Climate Change Conference, for example, as regards cooperation with South Africa, one of the 20 largest carbon emitters in the world. In Dubai, South Africa presented its implementation plan for its coal phase-out and energy transition, which places particular emphasis on the social aspects of the transformation. It is supported by Germany and other donors as part of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP). The insufficient energy supply is currently a major obstacle to development in South Africa: since coal-fired power plants in the region are unreliable, there are regular power outages, resulting in a considerable loss of economic output and jobs.

Germany is providing a loan of 500 million euros for South Africa’s reforms to implement the energy transition. On behalf of the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, KfW Entwicklungsbank has signed loan agreements with the South African Ministry of Finance. Further loans will be provided by the World Bank (USD 1 billion), the African Development Bank (USD 300 million) and Canada (USD 91 million). Germany does not need any federal funds for the loan. South Africa, however, would have to pay considerably more interest on the capital market than for the KfW loan.

One of the measures in the South African reform package is the establishment of an independent electricity grid operator. The public energy supplier ESKOM, which also operates the electricity grids, currently generates around 90 per cent of the country’s electricity, almost exclusively from coal. As in many other countries, an independent grid operator would greatly facilitate the feed-in of renewable energy and thus trigger private investment. This institutional separation as well as further regulatory reforms and tax incentives will pave the way for more private investment in the expansion of renewables. The revision of a law agreed as part of an earlier reform measure shows how effective such measures can be: the amount of solar power from rooftop systems has quadrupled within a year.

Progress has also been made in the Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) with Indonesia. A project funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action is now set to develop concepts for the retrofitting and conversion of Indonesian coal-fired power plants. For example, coal-fired power plants that have been decommissioned prematurely can be used for wind and solar power plants and battery storage. Indonesia is one of the ten largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world. The country has made an international commitment to achieving climate neutrality by 2060 at the latest and a socially just energy transition in its own country. As part of the JETP, it is supported by Germany and other donors as well as private financial institutions. The Indonesian government presented an investment and reform plan at the COP.

In addition to ensuring financing by granting low-interest loans, the insufficient availability of skilled workers is one of the key bottlenecks in the global energy transition. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), more than 100 million jobs will be created worldwide in the renewable energy sector by 2030, which will require skilled workers. The Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is therefore realigning its focus in the area of vocational training towards training skilled workers for the energy transition. It is currently working with around 60 partner countries on the issue of vocational education and training. One fifth of the projects focus on building and upgrading energy transition expertise. This share is to be significantly increased by 2025.

Today, the German government also launched the competition for ideas for climate action projects under the International Climate Initiative (IKI). It is to make a contribution to meeting the Global Goals. Thirteen key areas have been defined, where the best ideas for large-scale projects in developing and emerging countries are being sought. These include projects to expand the grid in order to integrate more renewables, as well as the expansion of renewable energy sources in Africa. The projects are to be implemented in countries which like Germany support the Memorandum of Understanding and, in the case of the Africa project, are also to be realised in the context of the Accelerated Partnership for Renewables in Africa (APRA) co-founded by Germany. Together with the European Investment Bank, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action is also supporting the development of a distributed energy supply in Ukraine with funding from the International Climate Initiative in order to supply municipal facilities, in particular schools and hospitals, based on renewable energy.

You can find the “Skilled workers for the global energy transition” action plan (in German) at https://www.bmz.de/de/themen/berufsbildung/berufliche- bildung-just-transition-194814

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