The Green Party in Germany’s state governments

In April 2017, the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation published the study German Greens in Coalition Governments, in which the experiences of the German Green party in state governments are analyzed. Since its publication much has changed due to state elections, which is why the study will receive an update in several blog posts and a second edition. Additionally, I am working on a new study which focuses on the impact of the Green party in the field of ecologic policies.
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Germany Shows It’s Worth Fighting For Energy Democracy

Citizen energy is the big winner. This is the surprising result of Germany’s first auction for onshore wind power. 9 out of 10 successful bids came from citizens and energy cooperatives, not from utilities. The outcome highlights what makes Germany’s energy transition, the Energiewende, unique in an international comparison. Continue Reading




Strategic flexibility

In comparison to its international peers, the German Green Party (called Alliance 90/The Greens) is considered to be influential. The party does not only have a strong record of electoral success and leaving its governance foot mark with signature policies like Germany’s nuclear phaseout. The Greens currently co-govern in 11 out of Germany’s 16 states. In my home state of Baden-Württemberg they are even the strongest party in parliament and lead the coalition. So what makes Germany’s Greens comparably successful? Continue Reading


German Greens in Coalition Governments

The German Green Party has succeeded in taking over governmental responsibility in the majority of the 16 German federal states. However, in order to remain successful – also in view of the upcoming federal elections – a sober look at the factors which led to the success and which will continue to do so in the future is required. How exactly do the Greens govern? How does government participation change the decision-making processes and the political objectives of a party? How does good cooperation between those responsible in federal and state government function? Continue Reading


Energiewende gets lots of attention, but for wrong reasons

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



Energiewende goes USA

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 DemocracyContinue Reading


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