DBU aktuell No. 04 | 2019 | English

Information on Grant Support Activities of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt)

Felix Gruber  © Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt
Felix Gruber, DBU department head in the field of "Environmental Technology"

2.) Approaching goals constructively and considering the entire earth system

In order to promote the energy transition, the DBU supports projects in the field of "Renewable Energy, Energy Saving and Energy Efficiency". DBU aktuell spoke with Felix Gruber, DBU department head in the field of "Environmental Technology" and head of the project group "Energy".

DBU aktuell: At the beginning of the year, the DBU adjusted its funding guidelines and merged the fields of “Sustainable Energy Production” and “Energy Use” as one topic. Why?

Gruber: The combination of the fields “Sustainable Energy” and the “Efficient Use Of Energy” are relevant due to the fact that we are unable to provide endless energy from renewable energy sources. They are also subject to restrictions and conflicts: e.g., bioenergy and land use. The resource issue associated with the expansion of renewables also play a major role, which we have to consider in the future. Nowadays, efficient use of energy is almost more important than in the fossil age.

DBU aktuell: Climate protection and energy transition are topics that generally meet with broad approval, but may be viewed critically, for example with regard to wind turbines and nature conservation issues. How does the DBU position itself in this conflict area? 

Gruber: It is important to build a systemic approach in the conflict area of different environmental protection goals. Objectives such as climate protection and nature conservation should not be played off against each other but must be tackled constructively. Solutions are not just black or white. I know it´s not an easy task. Thus, we are looking for projects that show how this can work. It is important to keep an eye on the entire Earth system. In conflict areas between wind power and nature conservation this means: No species protection without climate protection and no climate protection without protection of species. 

DBU aktuell: Mr. Gruber, you have been the head of the DBU Environmental Technology Department since April. What priorities do you wish to set with your work? 

Gruber: The middle class is our core target group. Small and medium-sized companies create many innovative and pioneering projects that make important contributions to the energy transition. A new element is the link between ubiquitous digitization and aspects of sustainability. On the one hand, it is important to limit the negative impact of digitization on the eco-balance. Above all, however, digital-based approaches offer great potential, especially for the energy transition. How sustainability and digitization can be combined to form successful business models is demonstrated by our competence platform www.nachhaltig.digital. Medium-sized companies will find practical examples and orientation there. We also offer an attractive and new green start-up funding program.