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Press Release from 2018-08-22 / Group, KfW Research

New KfW Energy Transition Barometer 2018: Public acceptance of energy transition is high – e-mobility is growing

  • 90% of Germans support the energy transition
  • One household in six plans to buy an electric car
  • Great potential for smart homes
  • Need for building modernisation remains high
  • New survey of around 4,000 households in Germany

More than 90% of households in Germany back the energy transition - an important result of the KfW Energy Transition Barometer. This unique survey, which was conducted among almost 4000 households for the first time, also demonstrates that 23% of households are already actively participating by using energy transition technologies. “Support for the energy transition among the population remains high. This is a very encouraging finding. After all, climate change action and resource protection are and remain a task for generations”, said Dr Günther Bräunig, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer of KfW Group.

“As the high level of household carbon emissions remains virtually undiminished, however, these efforts are insufficient to achieve the climate targets of the German Federal Government and the Paris Agreement. The existing willingness of households to contribute actively to climate action should be more effectively harnessed through targeted support”, said Dr Jörg Zeuner, Chief Economist of KfW Group.

Energy transition in households is progressing mostly in the country-side
The participation of households in the energy transition is significantly lower in large cities than in the countryside. Photovoltaic and solar thermal systems in particular are more common in rural areas. This is not due to the higher share of multi-family residential buildings in cities, nor to differences in household incomes. “Here we need target-group specific promotion that mobilises citydwellers’ private capital for the energy transition”, Dr Zeuner added.

One household in six plans to buy an electric car
In addition, the KfW Energy Transition Barometer 2018 predicts strong growth in the electric car market. German households are planning to buy eight times more electric vehicles than are currently on the road. While only just under 2% of the surveyed households own an electric vehicle today, a notable 16% are planning to buy one. This is the highest growth rate of the technologies analysed. The study also shows that most of the households with electric cars have access to green electricity.

An accompanying survey by KfW Research has illustrated that fear of reduced autonomy is the primary factor that deters people from buying an electric car. The still patchy charging infrastructure was mentioned as the main reason not to buy an electric car (84% of responses), followed by vehicle range (81%) and purchase price (79%).

High market potential expected for smart home applications
Smart home systems enable the efficient use of energy on the basis of net-worked, remote-controlled devices and installations as well as automatable operations. This intelligent control of energy consumption can make an important contribution to energy conservation and optimal integration of renewables and thereby support the energy transition. The topic has recently gained significant publicity, but the breakthrough is still far away. Only 11% of house-holds use at least one smart home application in the areas of heating, lighting or electricity. More than half of all households, however, can imagine this form of use in the future. “In order to harness this enormous market potential, first we need to allay households’ misgivings about data security and error rates”, explained Dr Zeuner.

Households see high need to modernise housing stock
Just under 40% of German households live in a building that has not under-gone any energetic refurbishment in the past 15 years. The survey results confirm the substantial need for refurbishment across the housing stock. Compared with familiar scenarios for achieving a carbon-neutral building stock by the year 2050, the modernisation rate needs to be doubled. “The efforts of the Federal Government in this area should therefore be stepped up", said Dr Zeuner.

The KfW Energy Transition Barometer in brief:

  • Representative survey of ~4,000 households in Germany on the topic of energy transition
  • The study is new and unique in scope and content covered
  • The study provides insight on:
    • The attitude of households towards the topic of energy transition
    • Energy transition technologies (e.g. solar energy systems, battery storage, e-mobility) being used by households
    • Growth in new investments (planned purchases of energy transition technologies)
    • Motivation to use and obstacles to purchasing energy transition technologies
  • Survey was conducted by the infas Institute for Applied Social Sciences
  • The study is scheduled to be issued annually for at least the next four years
  • Overall, it provides a good overview of households’ participation in the energy transition in Germany

www.kfw.de/KfW-Konzern/KfW-Research/KfW-Energiewendebarometer (available only in German)