When my co-author Craig Morris and I started writing our book on the history of Germany’s Energiewende, we could not have known how timely it would be once published. At a time when America’s democratic institutions are being challenged by a President who cares more about tweets than security briefings more people are looking for ways to strengthen our democracies and engage those who feel left behind. Recently, pv magazine asked me why citizen ownership in energy is important and how the United States differs in that regard from Germany. Here is what I said. Continue Reading
Update: the report is now available here.
Over the last decade, the German Green Party continuously entered into coalition governments across Germany’s states. To date, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (Alliance 90/The Greens) govern in ten of the sixteen German states in a number of different coalitions with one or two other parties. In Baden-Württemberg, one of the bigger and traditionally more conservative states, the Green Party even managed to become the strongest power in the 2016 elections, thus appointing the first (and until now only) green minister-president, who is already in his second term. Continue Reading
Recently, I gave an interview to David Hunt, who is Managing Partner of hyperionsearch, Chair of the Decentralised Energy Forum, and a policy board member of the UK Renewable Energy Association (REA) and the Energy Storage Alliance. We talked about the Energiewende and energy democracy. You can read the full interview here. Continue Reading
Last week I took the Energiewende on the road along the US East Coast. Over there the Energiewende gets a lot of attention. The assumption is: If an industrial powerhouse like Germany can power its factories, heat its homes and run its trains on renewables, then basically any country can.
This only tells half of the story, though. Apart from a transition from dirty to clean technologies the Energiewende is also a story of a political transition: from a centralized, corporate dominated to a smaller, more distributed and decentralized energy system. What makes the Energiewende unique is that citizens, not big utilities, are driving this transition. It is the reason why Germany may be the only country in the world where the switch to renewables is a switch to energy democracy, as we show in our book Energy Democracy. Continue Reading
In 2011, German Chancellor Angela Merkel drew the world’s attention to Germany’s energy transition ― or Energiewende ― when she ordered the shutdown of eight nuclear reactors in the aftermath of Fukushima. But, in all of that new attention one thing about the Energiewende was sorely overlooked: its history as a grassroots movement. Continue Reading
As Germany takes on a greater global leadership role, policymakers in Washington, Brussels and beyond need to better understand Berlin’s policy decisions. With Newpolitik, the Bertelsmann Foundation North-America is offering a guidebook for anyone seeking insight on Germany’s important and changing role in the European Union and the world. This piece addresses the German energy transition and draws three central lessons. Continue Reading
Germany promises more renewables but big utilities grab more control. Driven by a long-term renewable energy policy that dates back decades and, more recently, a nuclear power phase-out, the country is spearheading a transition to renewables commonly known as the Energiewende (“energy transition”).
Energy Democracy – Germany’s Energiewende to Renewables
The transition to a low-carbon energy system can only succeed if we switch to renewable energy and energy efficiency while parting from fossil fuels. Already, the global share of renewable energy in electricity production has increased sharply. Nevertheless, many new coal power plants, anticipated to run for many decades, were connected to the grid in recent years. How do these divergent trends add up? Continue Reading
If you are active on Twitter among the energy and climate geeks like me, you run across international coverage on Germany’s energy transition almost every day. Compare that discussion with the original domestic Energiewende debate, a big perception gap opens up. Continue Reading