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

Heinrich Böll Stiftung
Place of publication
Czech Republic
Date of Publication
March 2014
Number of Pages


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

Germany’s energy transition, or Energiewende, has been a success story thus far in terms of renewable electricity production (especially solar PV and onshore wind), technological innovation, job creation, and citizen involvement in clean-energy generation, among other areas. Yet there is room for improvement.

One weakness of the current layout of the Energiewende is that, for the most part, it focuses on the national level alone. The impacts of this transition on neighbouring countries have hardly been addressed in Germany. Conversely, some of Germany’s European neighbours have called its nuclear phase-out into question. This is especially the case for Poland and the Czech Republic. At the same time, the energy transition is already having discernible effects on Germany’s neighbours, especially on their grid stability and electricity markets, without there being adequate consultation and coordination mechanisms in place. While Polish and Czech politicians are concerned about the consequences of the German energy transition for their energy systems, German decision-makers are largely unaware of their misgivings. These gaps in information and communication give rise to misconceptions and political friction, often fed by misleading and sometimes populist media coverage.

This report is the result of a trilateral expert group's discussions held in Prague, Warsaw and Berlin over the course of 2013.

Table of contents

Preface 5

About the authors 6

Members of the trilateral expert group 7

Summary and recommendations 8

Executive Summary 8

Recommendations 9

1. Comparative energy profiles and debates 11
1.1.  Key energy indicators 11
1.2.  Energy policy and outlook 19

2. Cross-border perceptions and information gaps 25
2.1.  Energy policy debate and perception of the Energiewende in the Czech Republic 27
2.2.  Between leadership and self-referentiality: Germany and the foreign policy dimension of the energy transition 28
2.3.  Energy policy debate and perception of the Energiewende in Poland 29

3. Three core issues tackled in the trilateral dialogue 32
3.1.  Electricity system and markets 32
3.2.  The debate on the transit (loop) flows through Poland and the Czech Republic 38
3.3.  Renewable energy support schemes 42

4. EU energy policy – integration, cooperation or isolation? 49

Annex: Facts about the German Energiewende (energy transition) 52

List of references 56

List of abbreviations 59