Bad times for energy efficiency: German companies are planning to invest proportionately less in energy efficiency in the coming 12 months. The Energy Efficiency Index dropped in summer 2015 by over a third. The significance of the topic and the share of investments in efficiency measures in overall investments have indeed clearly risen since the last survey but: for the first time the expectations of companies are below their assessment of the current situation. The I nstitute for Energy Efficiency in Production (EEP) at the University of Stuttgart published the 4 th Energy Efficiency Index of the German industry on 21 st June 2015. Since 2013 it has been determining every half year the suspension of as well as current and planned activities of German industry on the topic of energy efficiency and it is prepared in cooperation with the German Energy Agency (dena), the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Fraunhofer IPA and TÜV Rheinland.
The Energy Efficiency Index of the German industry declined by around 35% compared to the winter survey. It comprises three part indices that illustrate the significance, the investments and the energy productivity respectively for the present and the future.
The productivity index, i.e. the gauge for the energy productivity increase in a comparative period has declined by over 75%. The significance index in contrast has risen slightly by 12% and the share of investments in energy efficiency in overall investments is stated as being almost three times as high as in the last half year.
“A trend reversal is becoming apparent“, according to EEP Institute Head Prof. Alexander Sauer, “ since up to now ever greater efforts and energy efficiency increases had been planned for the future than in the present. Therefore a further increase in efforts in the field of energy efficiency is no longer anticipated in the near future.“
The EEP prepared the summer index 2015 on the questioning of 371 producing companies from 21 sectors (160 were incorporated in the indexing). A third of the questioned companies relevant to the index were small (under 50 employees) or very small (below 10 employees), two thirds belonged to the group of medium-sized and large companies.
Incentives do not appear to suffice for small companies
In almost all small and smallest companies it is exclusively internal employees that deal with the topic of energy efficiency. It seems that the current offers from politics to finance external consultants are not being utilised and are not sufficient as an incentive for further investments.
50 % of the smallest and 25 % of the small companies are neither planning today nor in the coming 12 months investments in energy efficiency measures. In the case of medium-sized and large companies indeed only 5% are investing nothing at all in energy efficiency but in future according to the survey this share will double to 9% resp. 11% approximately.
“In total a scenario is becoming apparent that no further increase in efficiency efforts are expected in the future – we must do far more work in the field of sensitising and incentive systems if the turnaround in energy is to be successful,“ according to EEP Chairman of the Advisory Board Heinz Dürr.
Companies are financing conservatively
For the first time the topic of financing was addressed concerning the continually changing special issues of the index. Almost half, namely 43% of all companies questioned, would select a classic mixture of own and external financing for efficiency measures. Only 9.3 % would engage in innovative contracting models. Small companies in particular are remaining conservative in terms of financing. Contracting is currently only worth considering for medium-sized and large companies – therefore the broad market is missing for innovative financing concepts.
Which incentives are taking effect?
The Federal Government is already attempting to make adjustments in terms of the subsidies. A step in the right direction since 45 % of the companies state a subsidy resp. a premium as being a particularly effective incentive for further investments. But also tax relief and depreciation benefits clearly animate investments. “In view of the currently gloomy prospects for further advancements in energy efficiency in production, such political measures would be an important signal“, according to EEP boss Alexander Sauer.
Dr. Hans-Herwig Geyer, Head of University Communication and Press Spokesperson, University of Stuttgart, Tel.: 0711/685-82555, Email: hans-herwig.geyer[at] hkom.uni-stuttgart.de
Dr. Birgit Spaeth, Press Office Institute for Energy Efficiency in Production (EEP), University of Stuttgart, Tel: 0711/970-1810, Email: birgit.spaeth[at]eep.uni-stuttgart.de