Energy Transition Archive

Building Political Support for a Clean Energy Transition — How Arguments on Solar Power Affect Public Support in Germany and the US

The growing clean energy transition and its emerging decentralized actors threaten the traditional business model of large utilities, contributing to a deadlock around laws, regulations, and political support. Solar advocates in Germany and the US can learn from each other’s successes and setbacks in building public support and help pave the way for a “green dream” to become a nonpartisan reality.

Coal Atlas: Facts and figures on a fossil fuel

Coal contributes more to climate change than any other energy source. It is therefore of utmost importance that the world finds ways by which to tame King Coal, especially as international climate negotiations get underway in Paris later this month. The Coal Atlas - a joint publication by the Heinrich Boell Foundation and Friends of the Earth International - highlights new facts and figures on the state of the global coal industry. 

Driving Regional Cooperation Forward in the 2030 Renewable Energy Framework

The European Commission, the European Council, and the European Parliament have all repeatedly called for more regional cooperation in the context of the 2030 climate and energy framework and the Energy Union debate. Regional cooperation can effectively bridge the gap between national renewables policies and a Europeanised approach to renewables deployment While multiple formats of regional cooperation already exist, a “quantum leap” in regional cooperation is required to address the further deployment of renewable energy from 2020 to 2030.

Final Report - Findings of the African Nuclear Study

Given the growing interest in nuclear energy generation from Africa countries, this study takes a closer look at nuclear energy from an African perspective and considers the emerging information in relation to nuclear energy supply in the countries that have advanced plans for nuclear- South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

The Future of Utilities: Extinction or Re-Invention?

Energy transitions in Germany and the United States are forcing utilities to increasingly reinvent themselves. Energy expert Susanne Fratzscher takes a look at a number of transformative trends that will push this process and outlines how utilities have begun to adapt to new power market realities on both sides of Atlantic.

Texas and Germany: Energy Twins?

Geographically and politically, Texas and Germany are on opposite sides of the world, but both believe strongly in competitive energy markets, and both have largely deregulated their power industries. Now both are reconsidering their market designs.

The Socio-Economic Power of Renewable Energy Production Cooperatives in Germany

Energy cooperatives are important players in Germany's energy transition. Their positive socio-economic impact, especially in rural regions, has been highly significant yet not well understood. PhD student and Heinrich Böll Foundation scholarship holder, Sarah Debor, takes a closer look at the empirical evidence. This paper was first published by the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014

Three years after Fukushima, global nuclear power generation continues to decline. This year's report states that the nuclear share in the world's power generation declined steadily from a historic peak of 17.6 percent in 1996 to 10.8 percent in 2013. If it weren’t for the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, we probably wouldn’t know. This is because the nuclear industry is working hard to have us believe quite the opposite: that the world is seeing a nuclear renaissance.

The German Coal Conundrum

The focus on the Energiewende has increasingly shifted to the role of coal in Germany. Arne Jungjohann and Craig Morris take a critical and historical look at the German coal situation and find that coal is in fact not making a comeback in Germany.

Reexamining the United States’ shale gas success: Is Europe letting the fox in the henhouse?

Shale gas development continues to cause a heated debate on both sides of the Atlantic with the industry touting the increasing number of jobs within the sector, as well as lower CO2 emissions in comparison to coal and oil. Although both seem to be good news for US and EU policy makers and civil society, such arguments are often exaggerated and do not reflect less promising economic and environmental realities.

Greening the Heartlands of Coal in Europe: Insights from a Czech-German-Polish Dialogue on Energy Issues

The impacts of the German energy transition on its European neighbors have hardly been addressed. In 2013, HBF, in cooperation with the Ecologic Institute, invited experts from the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland to discuss the prospects for better cross-border cooperation arising from Germany's energy transition. This report is the result of the trilateral energy expert group's discussion.

The Energiewende - the Result of a Powerful Mass Movement from Below

Nowhere is the economic impact of the German energy transition more evident than in Bavaria where land owners and farmers have taken advantage of the new incentives to become "prosumers". In this interview with Josef Goeppel, a conservative member of the Bundestag from Bavaria, it becomes clear how German traditional conservatives are grasping the relevance of the Energiewende.

German Energy Transition #6

While the US energy sector is good for big business, Germany’s is good for citizens. Germans not only want clean power; they also want to make it themselves. When locals own and control their environment, the acceptance of renewables increases, argues Craig Morris.

What is the German Energiewende?

Germany's path to a renewable energy economy will not succeed without smart grid technologies. Some say the energy transition is impossible. What is the Energiewende? Why is it worth doing and how do citizens and small businesses in Germany invest in renewables? Check out this video

German Energy Transition #5 - Greening the Economy

Germany's transition to renewable energies is one its signature public policies of the 21st century. However, the Energiewende was not created in a vacuum. In this paper the author discusses the Energiewende's overlooked American origins.

Power and Profits in the Hands of the People

Germany's rural towns, like their United States counterparts, have struggled in modern times to overcome vulnerability to economic and population decline. In recent years, scores of small town residents in Germany have risen to the challenge by tapping national policies and local renewable resources, like the sun, wind, and biomass to create electricity, well-paying jobs, investment opportunities, local tax revenues, and new industries for their citizens. In September 2012, nine renewable energy policy makers and advocates from across the United States traveled to Germany to witness what amounts to a small town and rural revitalization phenomenon. What they learned broadened their perceptions, set the record straight on several prevalent myths about renewable energy, and spurred new ideas about how to move forward back home.

The German Energy Transition - Greening the Economy

Germany has drawn a lot of attention for the Energiewende - the aim to switch to a renewable energy economy, phase out nuclear power and leave fossil fuels behind. But what exactly is the German energy transition: How does it works and what challenges lay ahead? Check out this new website.

The German Energy Transition - Greening the Economy

Germany’s green global leadership role was taken to new heights in 2011 when the country embarked on an ambitious energy transition, die Energiewende. But can a highly industrialized economy be dominantly powered with wind and solar energy? What about energy costs and grid stability? This dossier addresses these questions and provides other insights from the German Energy Transition.

German Energy Transition #4

Much of Europe is betting on offshore wind as a way of transforming its energy system into one which will be almost entirely based on renewable energies. Europe - and Germany - have seen a large influx of investment in this sector over the past years, and the quest for becoming the leading supply and manufacturing region is well underway - with seaports leading the way.

German Energy Transition #3

Cooperatives have a vast history of playing important roles in supporting local economies in both the Midwestern United States and Germany. Today, a significant opportunity exists to build on existing cooperative models in the Midwest to also supply sources of local, renewable energy production.

German Energy Transition #2

Germany was a first mover in the solar energy sector. Recent bankruptcies call its early commitment into question, but a closer look shows how well positioned Germany remains – and why it’s a good time for the US to get on board.

German Energy Transition #1

Is it hysteria or emotional populism that Germany has decided to phase out nuclear energy? On the contrary, a majority of Germans has been unconvinced of its merits since the early 1980s; the source of this anti-atom consensus lies in the persuasive, fact-based arguments of a powerful, grassroots social movement.

Moving Beyond Nuclear and Coal?

This panel discussion in Durban brought together Japanese and European perspectives on how the international community is moving away from nuclear and coal-based energy in response to incidents such as Fukushima.

Harvesting Renewable Energy

Dirk Ketelsen, organic farmer and executive director of Dirkshof, a renewable energy producer and consultancy in Schleswig-Holstein, gives a first-hand report on the success of his investment in renewable energies.

No Nukes, No Problem?

As Germany is showing, it is very possible to get large penetrations of renewable energy while phasing out nuclear energy. With bold political and social support, a consistent incentive framework for clean energy investment, and creative thinking about how to deploy geographically-dispersed resources, Germany is undergoing a major transition in its energy sector.

Energy of the Future?

The Heinrich Boell Foundation Prague published a new report on the state of nuclear energy and plans to expand it in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria. In many of these countries high-level politicians are vigorously promoting the development of nuclear energy.

Nuclear Lessons from Japan

The unfolding disaster at the nuclear plants in Japan, which involves some of the oldest reactors in the country, starkly shows that the United States’ current policy of rubber-stamping 20-year license extensions for its aging reactors is very dangerous.

27 National Energy Action Plans = 1 European Energy Policy?

This Green European Foundatio (GEF) publication is a first, critical look at six National Renewable Energy Action Plans submitted to the European Commission in 2010. These action plans contain detailed information on how these six European Union member states expect to meet their EU renewable energy targets, and hence provide great insight into the expected development of the European energy industry over the coming decade and beyond.

How did Germany Surpass the United States in Renewable Energy Development?

From May 30th to June 4th, 2010, Transatlantic Climate fellow Dan Conrad (North Carolina Conservation Network) visited Berlin and Prague to meet with experts and officials for discussion on renewable energy development and climate policy. Read his reflections on similarities and differences of policies on either side of the Atlantic.

Myth of Nuclear Power - A Guide

The recent explosions at several reactors in Japan have again highlighted the hazards of nuclear power in a dramatic way. The description of nuclear power as reliable and secure energy source has turned into a myth. Renowned international nuclear experts provide an overview of current, facts rich, and nuclear-critical know-how.

Three Hundred Thousand Clean Energy Jobs

This policy paper analyzes the succes of the German renewables industry and discusses which of the lessons learned could be applied to the U.S. states of Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota. In cooperation with the Blue Green Alliance the paper will be released during the Midwestern Green Jobs Tour from July 12-16.

Out of the Running?

The United States must make long-term investments in clean energy development or risk being shut out of a $2.3 trillion industry, this new report has found. The study describes Germany, Spain and China as early winners in the next great technological and industrial revolution because each imposed policies to encourage low-carbon energy development.

In cooperation with the Center for American Progress

Going Green. The Future has Begun

The green industrial revolution will, on a grand scale, create new products, services, and jobs. Although much remains to be done, the great transformation is on its way. In this collection of short articles, the authors debate the pros and cons of carbon capture and storage, the American turn to "green," and the questions of how economic growth and climate protection can be reconciled.

A European Community for Renewable Energies

The Sahara can become a power hub to provide renewable energy to Europe by the mid of the century. This project should become a cornerstone of a new European Community for renewable energies, argues Ralf Fücks.

Europe: Creating New Jobs with Renewable Energies

The support of renewable energies triggers boosts the economy and creates hundred thousands of new jobs. In Germany already today more people work in renewable energy industries than in the coal and nuclear sector together.

1968 revisited - 40 Years of Protest Movements

2008 marks the 40th anniversary of the worldwide protests of 1968. The events of that time such as the protests against the war in Vietnam, the Prague Spring and the student protests in Western Europe and the U.S. are closely connected – it was truly a global movement!

Feed-in Tariffs and Renewable Energy in the USA

Feed-in tariff policies have driven rapid renewable energy growth for electricity in Europe, but have not been widely adopted in North America to date. This paper reviews the experience of US states which have introduced feed-in tariff legislation, and discusses the outlook for Community-Based Energy Development policies.