As patron of the Digital Geothermal Congress 2020, I am delighted about your commitment and dedication to the further development of the use of geothermal energy. This year's congress falls into a special year: The effects of the COVID -19 pandemic have presented us all with extraordinary challenges. I am all the more pleased that you have stuck to the implementation of the Congress 2020 and that you have been able to meet the special requirements of this time by means of a virtual format.
The energy turnaround is an opportunity for Germany as an industrial location and thus for the future viability of our country.
Last year, renewable energies accounted for around 46 percent of electricity consumption. This is a value that only a short time ago, few would have thought possible. The supply of electricity from renewable energies is also approaching the 50 percent mark. This strengthens my confidence that we can and will achieve the goals of the energy turnaround.
The switch to an energy supply with a predominant share of renewable energies is not only an important step in the electricity sector, but also in the supply of heat in buildings and in industrial use. The promotion of real-world laboratories of energy system transformation as a new element in the German government's 7th Energy Research Programme supports industry in taking this path.
One example is the real-world laboratory "IW3 - Integrierte WärmeWende Wilhelmsburg" in Hamburg. There a system for a secure and inexpensive heat supply based on renewable energies in urban areas is being developed using a combination of geothermal, solar and industrial waste heat. The comprehensive coupling of the areas of heat, electricity and mobility will enable an energy-efficient and CO2-neutral supply of the rapidly growing urban district.
A strategic component of the future heat supply must be the use of geothermal energy, whether near the surface, medium-deep and, if economically viable, deep geothermal energy. It is important to make the heat available safely on demand. Here I rely on your competence and experience.
The Geothermiekongress offers again a fastidious framework for the exchange over current developments, chances and successes in connection with the use of terrestrial heat. I wish all participants a successful and constructive event.