The Energiewende, or "energy transition", is the bold, some say audacious campaign to transition Germany’s energy system away from both nuclear and fossil fuels towards renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and biomass. Whether you view Germany's clean energy push as a model for the world, a fascinating experiment, or a cautionary example, it is clear there is much the world can learn by exploring the Energiewende. On July 9, we asked an expert panel about the important lessons from the Energiewende. Listen to the podcast below:

 

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Germany’s Energiewende enjoys deep support at home, despite the high costs of the subsidies responsible for the rapid pace of renewable energy adoption.

Critics of the Energiewende have focused on that price tag as evidence that Germany’s policies are not sustainable, or at least not transferable to other developed nations facing tighter budgets or developing economies for which cheap energy is a priority.

At the same time, if measured by the growth of renewable energy sources, Germany’s energy transition has been a resounding success to date. Renewable energy provided just 5 percent of Germany’s electricity in 1998. It provides 25 percent today.

Germany is also the world’s largest market for solar photovoltaics, has seen rapid development of on and offshore wind power, and has become home to some of the world’s leading manufacturers of renewable energy products, including Siemens Energy.

So what accounts for the success of Germany’s Energiewende to date?

Can the same strategies that brought German renewables from 5 to 25 percent of the electricity supply achieve the much more challenging target of 60 percent by 2050?

What about the tension between shuttering low-carbon nuclear power plants at the same time that greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants in Germany are rising?

And what can the rest of the world learn from Germany’s bold experiment?

To get to the heart of these and other questions, we were joined for our podcast by the following experts...

 

ImageRainer Baake
Director of Agora-Energiewende, former Deputy Minister of the German Federal Environmental Ministry

ImageDr. Sören Buttkereit
Vice President of regulatory strategies for Siemens Energy, focused on market design in the power sector and the adaptations required for a successful transition towards systems with a higher share of (intermittent) renewables.

ImageStephanie Wang,
Regulatory Policy Director for the Clean Coalition, a nonprofit working to encourage a modern energy system of smaller-scale, efficient, renewable energy projects.

 

Stephanie referenced a few slides during our conversation - you can view those here: