Press Release from 2019-08-22 / Group, KfW Research

KfW Energy Transition Barometer 2019: Germans want more renewables – breakthrough of e-mobility expected by the year 2030

  • 80% of households want changes to their energy supply
  • Energy transition technologies are used primarily in rural areas and by owner-occupiers
  • One in four households plan to drive an electric car in 10 years
  • Half of all households favour expanding 30 km/h zones in inner cities
  • Urban toll roads meet with great scepticism

The KfW Energy Transition Barometer 2019 has found that German households clearly want a different form of energy supply, with some 80% of households open to changing how they source their energy. More than 60% want to use more renewable energy or even generate energy themselves.

“That is a good starting point. There is an urgent need to further expand the use of renewables in private households because the amount of greenhouse gas emissions saved needs to be increased again significantly in the already successful building segment as well to achieve the climate targets of the German Federal Government by 2030", said Dr Daniel Römer, Senior Economist at KfW Group.

Energy transition in households is still taking place mostly in the countryside

In the distribution of the energy transition technologies surveyed across German households, one thing that stands out is that owner-occupiers as well as households in rural regions are currently particularly active in advancing the energy transition. That means tenants and cities in particular are still behind. A major reason for this is that inhabitants of large cities are not sharing experiences enough. One way of speeding up the energy transition in cities might be to establish networks and dialogue platforms on energy transition.

One in four households plan to drive an electric car in 10 years

Households are also preparing for changes in the area of mobility. Today, only around 1% of households use a hybrid or electric automobile.

“But the KfW Energy Transition Barometer 2019 signals a growing trend which will bring a breakthrough for electric mobility by 2030. This development promises to make a crucial contribution to climate action in the transport sector”, said Dr Daniel Römer.

Households cited high vehicle prices and the insufficient number of charging stations as the key barriers to the broader adoption of electric cars. Only around one fourth of vehicle charges are currently taking place in the public charging infrastructure. Expanding private charging infrastructure is therefore crucial. Many households appear to have the basic physical conditions, with 36% of households indicating that they have a parking space with a power point and a further 46% have a permanent parking space for their car. Employers also provide parking spaces. Appropriate support should make it possible to upgrade or expand existing electrical installations and thus make adequate charging infrastructure accessible to a large portion of households.

Half of households favour expanding 30 km/h zones in inner cities, but there is great scepticism about urban toll roads

Many cities also need to take action to reduce traffic congestion. Three fourths of German households, however, reject urban toll roads as well as higher parking fees. Municipalities that seek to take such measures in order to use space more efficiently should design ways in which to convince inhabitants of the purpose and benefits of such measures, for example through a coherent overall strategy. In this context it is evident that only around 20% of households oppose the basic goal of transport avoidance. Half of all households would even support expanding 30 km/h zones in inner cities. It is therefore important to support municipalities in developing comprehensive strategies that meet the needs of the inhabitants and involve, for example, using revenues from urban toll and parking fees to expand mass public transport as well as bicycle lanes and footpaths.

The KfW Energy Transition Barometer:

  • Representative survey on energy transition among some 4,000 households in Germany
  • The study is new and unique in scope and content
  • It provides insight on
  • the attitude of households towards the issue 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)
  • Survey was conducted by the infas Institute for Applied Social Sciences
  • The study is scheduled to be published annually
  • It provides a good general overview of households’ participation in the energy transition in Germany

KfW-Energiewendbarometer 2019