The German Energy Transition
Germany’s perceived green global leadership role was taken to new heights in 2011 when the German government embarked on an ambitious energy transition, die Energiewende. In short, Germany is revamping its energy sector and indeed its whole economy to run on zero-carbon, clean energy, while it simultaneously phases out nuclear power. The energy transition underway aims to cut the dependence on fossil fuel imports, to fight climate change, and to build up a green industrial sector that sets standards for future markets and provides well-paying jobs for thousands of people.
Internationally, this energy transition is viewed with great interest and suspicion at the same time. How is Germany going to manage this vast energy revolution? Can a highly industrialized economy be dominantly powered with wind and solar energy? What about energy costs and grid stability? Can Germany stick to its ambitious climate targets while closing down its nuclear power sector?
This dossier provides practical insights from the German Energy Transition. It will offer perspectives from energy experts around the world and draw conclusions by comparing the German case to other countries green energy efforts.
On September 26, Jordan’s renewable energy leaders discussed Germany’s energy transition in Amman. The key questions to be answered were how does the German Energy Transition work, what are the international reactions and what does it actually mean for Jordan? The workshop was organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation Arab Middle East and EDAMA. Anna Leidreiter more»
July 3, 2012 - 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. Rebecca Bertram more»
June 29, 2012 - Energy from renewables is getting less and less expensive – while at the same time, private households have to pay more and more for it. This is obviously not due to the German Renewable Energy Act, which has been adopted by more than 50 countries meanwhile. Jürgen Trittin more»
June 25, 2012 - The German Energy Transition is underway. Is it all a big government energy plan? No, says Arne Jungjohann. Policies do matter, but it is the citizens that are the driving force behind the transition to a renewable energy economy. more»
German Energy Transition Series 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. Amanda Bilek more»
German Energy Transition Series 2
June 4, 2012 - 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. Craig Morris more»
June 4, 2012 - Can the world fight climate change without nuclear power? According to a recent Washington Post op-ed, Germany's decision to shut down eight nuclear reactors in the aftermath of Fukushima leads to rising carbon emissions. In reality, however, Germany reduced its emissions in 2011, because of more renewable energy - and a warm winter. Arne Jungjohann more»
German Energy Transition Series 1
May 11, 2012 - 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. Paul Hockenos more»
March 16, 2012 - Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear power after Fukushima has been criticized as it would lead to rising emissions and a shortage of power supply. A fact check proves these claims to be wrong. Today, renewable energies provide for more than a fifth of electricity demand in Germany. The country is on track to surpass its ambitious climate targets and even exports electricity to Europe’s nuclear power house, France. Craig Morris more»
Germany has seen record investments in solar energy. Thus, coal and nuclear utilities are calling for an end to solar incentives. They might be able to delay the boom of solar power. But it is too late to stop it altogether, argues Volker Quaschning in this article. Volker Quaschning more»
October 24, 2011 - This article examines how German environmental policymaking over the last 40 years transformed Europe’s economic engine into the international driver of green growth. Ralph Buehler, Arne Jungjohann, Melissa Keeley, Michael Mehling more»