Sector Programme
Extractives and Development
Lisa Stellner (GIZ, middle) at the BETD in Berlin

12.04.2022 No energy transition without raw materials - X4D at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue Conference

According to the coalition agreement between SPD, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and FDP, 15 million electric cars are to be on German roads by 2030. Renewable energies are also to be greatly expanded. A large number of raw materials are needed for this. On average, a conventional electric car requires 6 times as many raw materials as a classic combustion car. Without aluminium there would be no solar cells, without copper no wind turbines and without lithium no batteries. However, increased raw material extraction poses challenges for resource-rich developing and emerging countries, where many of the raw materials for renewable energy technologies are currently extracted. Although international studies assume an increase in demand for certain raw materials of up to 500 % by 2050 (compared to the production volume of 2018), the discussion about the German energy and transport transition has not yet led to a broad debate about the responsible extraction of these raw materials.

GIZ's sector project "Extractives for Development" (X4D), which works on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), has taken this as an opportunity to address this topic at a side event at this year's Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue (BETD) (External link). The event on 31 March 2022 was opened by a keynote speech by Lisa Stellner on the topic of "Responsible raw materials for the energy and transport transition".

Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue Conference 2022 (BETD)

The BETD is an annual conference organised by the German government under the auspices of the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology through the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE), the German Solar Industry Association (BSW) and the German Energy Agency (DENA). In recent years, the BETD has developed into a leading international forum for key players in the energy sector. High-ranking political decision-makers, industry, science and civil society are given the opportunity to exchange experiences and ideas on a secure, affordable and environmentally compatible global energy transition.

The travelling exhibition "Energy in Transition - Empowering Tomorrow"

The side event took place within the framework of the travelling exhibition "Energy in Transition - Empowering Tomorrow (External link)", which is currently being implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office. In interactive stations, the travelling exhibition provides an insight into the global energy transition dialogue from the perspective of politics, society, business and science. The exhibition covers the topics of renewable energies, mobility and just transition. The exhibition started in May 2021 and has so far visited Vietnam, Russia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Ireland. During BETD, the exhibition was on display for a week at the Fraunhofer ENIQ premises. Fraunhofer ENIQ (External link) is a public meeting place for Fraunhofer energy research in Berlin.

Side Event "Resource Needs for the Energy Transition

On Thursday, 31 March 2022, the side event entitled "Resource Needs for the Energy Transition" was organised by the GIZ project "Global Energy Transition Communication" together with Fraunhofer ENIQ. The sector programme "Raw Materials and Development" was invited to give a presentation on "Responsible Raw Materials for the Energy and Transport Transition". In addition to a brief presentation of the projected increase in demand for certain raw materials, the talk focused primarily on the developmental dimension of the increase in demand. Responsibly designed, the raw materials sector offers the producing countries a variety of opportunities through the generation of tax revenues and the creation of jobs. It can play an important role in economic development and in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. However, resource extraction also poses many challenges. It must be equitable and climate-friendly. Moreover, it must not be carried out at the expense of the environment, human rights and peace. To ensure this, German DC supports resource-rich partner countries in bilateral and regional projects. In addition, it relies on a "smart mix" of legal provisions, voluntary standards, multi-actor partnerships and accompanying development measures.

Another speaker was Dr Luis Tercero Espinoza from the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), who spoke on the topic of raw material demand and circularity. He pointed out that the current recycling rate could not cover the enormous demand for raw materials for the energy and transport transition and that primary raw material extraction was therefore still urgently needed. This must be designed in a socially and ecologically compatible way. He also took up the topic of "critical raw materials" and pointed out that technological (further) developments absolutely had to be included in the discussion. This was followed by an interesting discussion with the participants. The event was moderated by Dr. Marijke Welisch, head of Fraunhofer ENIQ.

Way Forward

In order to anchor the topic of responsible raw materials more firmly in the discourse on the energy and transport transition in the future, the products of the sector project were included in the travelling exhibition. These include, for example, the publication "Raw Materials for E-Mobility - Development Policy Perspectives" and the poster "7 Steps for Sustainable Lithium-Ion Batteries". It was also agreed with the management of Fraunhofer ENIQ to cooperate more closely in the future on topics related to the energy and transport transition and to always keep an eye on the opportunities and challenges that arise for resource-rich developing and emerging countries in the energy transition discourse in Germany.

If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Stellner.