Energy and Economy

Renewable energy, sustainable mobility, demographic change: the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is supporting sustainable development in the economy and society with two framework programmes and a number of funding measures.

Mädchen im Kornfeld
Renewable energy, bio-based economy, modern concepts for cities - there are many ways to make our society more sustainable. © Thinkstock

Rural regions are in decline as more and more people migrate to the cities. This raises the question: what will the city of tomorrow look like? This question can only be answered through the combined efforts of politics, economics and science. For this reason, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has worked together with economic, scientific, and civil society experts to set up the “National Platform for the City of the Future” - a comprehensive strategic agenda for innovation and research.

Wherever people live and work, energy is consumed. The existence and prosperity of every individual depends on a functioning energy supply system. The energy system of the future should ensure Germany's position as one of the most energy efficient, environmentally friendly economies, while also ensuring competitive energy prices and a high standard of living. Mid to long term restructuring of the energy supply systems is a prerequisite for their sustainability.

The German Federal Government is investing in the development of a sustainable energy supply system with a number of funding programmes. To create an environmentally friendly energy system, we must lower our consumption of fossil fuels – oil, gas and coal. Their consumption releases the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, contributing to global warming. Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energies, while maintaining the energy supply to our households, will require research and development. For this reason, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding basic research -  new technologies and innovations are the key to the Energiewende.

The overall goal of the Energiewende, is that humankind and the environment coexist in harmony again. Holistic approaches play an important role in the Green Economy. Green Economy unites economics, ecology and society with the aim of establishing a sustainable economic system, that is careful with its use of resources, minimises negative impacts on the environment, and enabling qualitative growth. The German Federal Ministry of Research, in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, large trade associations, unions, consumer protection organisations, has developed a “Green Economy” research agenda.

Energy is not the only issue – our whole economy is reliant on fossil resources. A lot of products are made from fossil resources – including most plastics. A sustainable economy must find a new basis. An environmentally friendly, renewable alternative is biomass. In a bio-based economy or bio-economy, products are made from and with the help of plants, micro-organisms and animals – for example foods, energy, building materials and consumer goods. The German Federal Government is supporting a sustainable, knowledge based bio-economy with a series of funding programmes.