This article considers Germany’s contentious exit from brown coal (lignite), now set for 2038. While greener alternatives, such as wind, solar, or natural gas have been reducing coal’s standing in Germany’s energy mix for years, coal proponents, backed by special interests, have pushed back at all levels of government. With a focus on the politics of coal during the 2017 parliamentary elections, the tedious months of coalition negotiations and the work of the coal committee since summer 2018, we explore how policymakers try to reconcile competing interests at the federal state, local, as well as international levels.
The Difficult Politics of German Coal
Tessa Coggio and Thane Gustafson
Franco Ruzzenenti and Aleksandra Wagner
the Luhmannian idea of temporal structures in modern society, which helps us understand this concept’s incredible career in the field of energy policy. The theoretical framework is supported by examples of the Jevons paradox and the rebound effect. The
Germany Rethinks its Energy Transition
Josephine Moore and Thane Gustafson
achievements. 2 It is now broadly acknowledged by all the major players, both in business and in politics, that Germany will miss its 2020 targets by a wide margin. This prospect is causing a nationwide re-examination of the foundations of the energy policy
Erik Gawel, Sebastian Strunz, and Paul Lehmann
The German energy transition repeatedly faces harsh critiques questioning its economic and environmental merits. This article defends the energy transition and argues that Germany has chosen an economically efficient and particularly forceful approach to securing a sustainable energy supply. Though current expenditures are high, the long-term benefits of transforming the energy system to a renewables-based system are likely to outweigh present investment costs. Furthermore, support policies for renewables are not redundant-as some critics claim-but instead complement other policy instruments, such as the emissions trading scheme. This article also addresses the motives behind the discrediting attacks on the German energy policy regime. Defensive actions by beneficiaries of the former energy market structure are only to be expected, but the attacks from liberal economists are astonishingly fierce.
The energy revolution poses a fundamental challenge to the German corporatist institutional model. The push for renewables in Germany arose almost entirely outside the prevailing channels of institutional power. Eventually, federal legislation helped support the boom in local energy production that was already underway, and it encouraged the further development of new forms of community investment and citizen participation in energy supply. Recently, the federal government has tried to put the genie back in the bottle by shifting support to large energy producers. But, as this article shows, the energy transition has provided a base for local power that cannot easily be assailed. The debate over German energy policy is becoming a contest between centralized and decentralized models of political and economic power. Prevailing institutionalist theories have difficulty accounting for these developments. I analyze the local development of renewable energy by means of a case study of the Freiburg area in southwestern Germany, which has evolved from a planned nuclear power and fossil fuel center to Germany's “solar region”. Incorporating insights from ecological modernization theory, I show how the locally based push for renewables has grown into a challenge to the direction of German democracy itself.
The Energiewende, a German Success Story?
intended to introduce the arcane subject of German energy policy to foreign readers. In his doctoral dissertation, Drivers of Energy Transition , the writer and activist Wolfgang Gründinger argues that heterogeneous social coalitions have driven the
Marco Sonnberger and Michael Ruddat
Wind Power: A Critique of Key Assumptions Within the Literature ”. Energy Policy 38 ( 4 ): 1834 – 1841 . 10.1016/j.enpol.2009.11.060 Aitken , Mhairi . 2010b . “ Wind Power and Community Benefits: Challenges and Opportunities ”. Energy Policy
The Challenges of Geoengineering
Klaus Radunsky and Tim Cadman
-atmosphere-ocean cycle, this rate does not occur over the time scale required to prevent damaging impacts on nature and society ( Stocker et al. 2013 ). Furthermore, if energy policies focus on using CCS technologies for capturing emissions from coal-fired power stations
An Atypical Case of Anti–Wind Farm Contention
Energy Comes of Age . Hoboken, NJ : John Wiley & Sons . Hall , Nina , Peta Ashworth , and Patrick Devine-Wright . 2013 . “ Societal Acceptance of Wind Farms: Analysis of Four Common Themes across Australian Case Studies .” Energy Policy 58
Unfairness as Critical to Energy Transitions
, Kirsten , Benjamin Sovacool , and Darren McCauley . 2018 . “ Humanizing Sociotechnical Transitions Through Energy Justice: An Ethical Framework for Global Transformative Change .” Energy Policy 117 : 66 – 74 . 10.1016/j.enpol.2018.02.036 Linden