The energy sector will play a key role in the battle against global warming, because it is responsible for the majority of the greenhouse gas emissions that harm the environment. If achieving the climate policy goal of limiting the rise in average global temperatures to 2 °C compared to preindustrial levels is to remain in any way realistic, CO2 emissions from the energy sector must be reduced significantly. Yet demand for energy is increasing around the globe. The International Energy Agency predicts that primary energy consumption will increase by about one third between 2010 and 2035.

Reducing these emissions in the face of growing global demand for energy is one of the most critical challenges. If this is to happen, an increasing share of energy must be generated from zero-carbon or low-carbon sources. At the same time, a huge effort is needed to improve energy efficiency. The use of fossil fuels must also be made more climate-friendly, because coal, gas and oil will continue to dominate the global energy mix for decades to come. Technologies that can minimize resource consumption and harmful emissions in fossil-based power generation are therefore absolutely vital in the medium and long term.

Energy storage is another key to reducing CO2 emissions in the energy sector. Storage capacity needs to grow considerably if reliance on renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics and wind power is to increase. This is because fluctuations in the feed-in of these renewable energy sources make it difficult to balance power generation and power demand for purposes of power-grid stability. Storage technologies must be improved and expanded so that temporary oversupplies of renewable energy can be saved and used to meet peaks in demand whenever they occur. Efficient grids that maintain a reliable supply of power and use smart components to integrate renewable energy and improve load management are crucial to the transformation of the energy system.

Action is needed in all these areas in order to achieve the goal of a resource-friendly and climate-compatible energy supply. In line with this understanding, the lead market for environmentally friendly power generation, storage and distribution is made up of four market segments: renewable energy, the ecofriendly use of fossil fuels, storage technologies and efficient grids. These market segments and their most important technology lines are shown in the following figure.

Market segments und key technology lines