ARCHIV - 07.12.2021, Berlin: Der Weihnachtsmarkt auf dem Breitscheidplatz. Ob die Lichter in diesem Jahr so hell strahlen werden wie üblich, ist noch offen. Wirtschaftssenator Schwarz lässt derzeit Möglichkeiten zum Energiesparen prüfen. (zu dpa "Weihnachtsmarkt-Beleuchtung in Berlin auf dem Prüfstand") Foto: Christoph Soeder/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

The looming energy crisis could also affect Berlin’s Christmas markets. Economics Senator Stephan Schwarz (independent) did not rule out on Tuesday that the lighting could be lower this year.

In its efforts to make savings, the Senate is initially focused on taking a look at its own administration. But it is also about areas in which state subsidies flow. And there, among other things, Christmas markets and the Christmas lights are a topic.

“It’s a proposal that’s on the table, but the same applies here: we have to evaluate it and we have to classify it,” says Schwarz. “Every kilowatt hour that we save is a contribution. In the end you have to decide: do we want to turn off all the lights in the whole city? Do we want to choke off the retailers’ Christmas sales with this? Is it worth it that jobs might end up being lost?”

This question must not only be decided in terms of energy policy, but also in terms of social and economic policy. “And that’s what we’ve decided to do,” says Schwarz. In two weeks, the Senate wants to present a comprehensive concept for saving energy. The Senate’s declared goal is to save at least ten percent of the energy consumption of its administrations. “This goal is set,” said Schwarz. “And I think that’s realistic too.”

According to the senator, the initial conditions in Berlin are different from those in other federal states, some of which have formulated higher savings targets. Berlin is the federal state with the lowest gas consumption in relation to the population.

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Schwarz put the annual consumption at 48,450 terajoules. In relation to the number of inhabitants, this is a third of what is consumed as the front-runner in Saarland. Among other things, this is due to the fact that Berlin has less energy-intensive industry and many renovated housing stocks. Nevertheless, there is also savings potential in the capital. The Senate wants to do its bit.

Similar to Schwarz, Senator for Culture Klaus Lederer (left) opposed a “Faster-Further-Higher” competition between the countries on the question. It is about sounding out serious savings potential and not neglecting the social component.

The cultural sector will not be left out when it comes to saving energy, says Lederer. But here, as in all other areas, it is important to proceed with a sense of proportion. Closure scenarios are not foreseeable at the moment. Everything else needs to be looked at carefully.

So it is “relatively absurd” to lower the temperature in museum depots. Because this could destroy cultural treasures. On the other hand, from his point of view it is certainly possible to lower the temperature by one degree or to reduce the lighting in a theater or concert hall.

The Senate is already implementing the first measures to save energy. Environment Senator Bettina Jarasch (Greens) announced last week that numerous public buildings would no longer be illuminated at night to save electricity. These are around 200 buildings and landmarks such as the Victory Column, Memorial Church, Berlin Cathedral and Red Town Hall.