Last month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel approved a long-term strategy to push renewable energies as a reliable, economical, and environmentally sound pillar of sustainable economic growth. The “Energiekonzept” (Energy Concept) foresees an end to the country's dependence on fossil fuels and defines key milestones to achieve by 2050, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 80% (compared to 1990 levels), the modernization and insulation of buildings, and a decrease in electricity consumption by 25%. Innovations must contribute substantially to meet these objectives, and so energy research is an explicit part of the Energiekonzept. By spring 2011, the German government will present a detailed new Energy Research Program that outlines important research tasks to support these new goals.

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