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Press Release from 2021-06-16 / Group

KfW Energy Transition Barometer: Energy transition broadly welcomed despite coronavirus, but financial worries threaten implemen

  • 90% of German households believe energy transition is important
  • Their own willingness to invest depends on economic impact of coronavirus crisis
  • All households need to be involved in order for transition to climate neutrality to succeed

The vast majority of households in Germany have not forgotten the importance of climate action despite crisis-induced uncertainties and frequent financial losses from the pandemic, and some are even thinking more about issues such as energy efficiency. This is the finding of a preliminary analysis of the KfW Energy Transition Barometer. The representative survey of households carried out from December 2020 to January 2021 found that a high 90% of private households support the energy transition, slightly more than in the previous year.

The looming financial pressure also appears to be playing a role here, giving the issue of energy efficiency greater prominence. Households that have seen their financial scope dwindle or have employment worries as a result of the coronavirus crisis in particular have voiced a greater interest in energy efficiency. More than one in three households that worry about their employment now think about energy efficiency more often than before the crisis. In households that do not perceive the crisis as an existential threat, the share is only around half that, or 18%.

But even if the coronavirus crisis so far has not had any negative impact on households’ attitudes towards the energy transition, the financial constraints can still be expected to impact on households’ actual investment expenditure. For example, the willingness of the surveyed households to accept personal sacrifices in order to advance the energy transition has dropped slightly in 2020 compared with the previous year (6.1 from 6.5 on a scale of 1 to 10). In households that have financial worries as a result of the coronavirus crisis, this pattern is much more distinct (5.8 compared with 6.2 in unaffected households).

“The findings of our survey are a double-edged sword for the success of the energy transition”, said Dr Fritzi Köhler-Geib, Chief Economist of KfW. “On the one hand, they impressively reflect how deeply the energy transition, energy efficiency and climate action are now embedded in society. On the other hand, the high share of households with financial and employment worries gives rise to fears that the crisis has reduced the options for home improvements or the purchase of an electric vehicle for many households. Investments in energy transition technologies might be abandoned or delayed, especially as the consequences of the pandemic mainly affect households with low incomes. But the energy transition cannot be delayed and policymakers are therefore called upon to create frameworks and promotional arrangements to provide incentives that enable these households to invest in climate-neutral technologies as well. The intended transition to climate neutrality can succeed only, if all groups of society are on board and the support for the energy transition in the population can be maintained at the current high level in the coming years.”

The current analysis can be retrieved at www.kfw.de/energiewendebarometer


Portrait Christine Volk


Christine Volk


+49 69 74 31 38 67


+49 69 74 31 32 66