Germany has ambitious plans to restructure its energy system and is aiming to generate 80 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by the year 2050. In the same year, it is also hoping to have reduced its total energy consumption by 50 percent compared with 2008 levels. These plans present the scientific community with major challenges. The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina is a driving force behind the development of a sustainable and reliable energy supply.
Technological innovations can only be effective if they are transparent and accompanied by social innovation. Alongside the natural and engineering sciences, social sciences and the humanities are playing a key role in further developing an energy system based on renewables. The standing committee on climate, energy and the environment brings together experts to discuss how best to advise politicians and society in light of current developments in energy research.
It is particularly important to have a wide variety of research projects in the energy sector. The events that took place in Fukushima showed just how quickly the debate surrounding energy supply can change. That is why the “Concept for an integrated energy research programme for Germany” emphasises that it is important to investigate all options for our future energy supply. The Leopoldina further developed this research concept in its statement entitled “Energy and research policy recommendations following the events in Fukushima”.
Technological innovations can only fulfil their potential if they are accepted by and established within society. This particularly applies to innovations in the energy sector. Establishing a successful dialogue between science, society and politics is an important priority when we provide advice on behalf of the scientific community regarding the switch to renewables.
Künstliche Photosynthese (2018) (German)
Scientific Officer, Department Science - Policy - Society
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