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




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


Germany’s Clean Energy Revolution Focuses On Empowering Individuals

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


The Energiewende – A Success Story at a Crossroads

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



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