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.
Erik Gawel, Sebastian Strunz, and Paul Lehmann
Hess, David J. 2012. Good Green Jobs in a Global Economy: Making and Keeping New Industries in the United States. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Verbong, Geert, and Derk Loorbach, eds. 2012. Governing the Energy Transition: Reality, Illusion or Necessity? New York: Routledge.
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.
Marco Sonnberger and Michael Ruddat
various countries ( Demski et al. 2015 ; Sovacool and Tambo 2016 ). Since the public acceptability of energy transitions depends on citizens’ complex perceptual patterns of various aspects of these transitions (e.g., acceptance of energy technologies and
Unfairness as Critical to Energy Transitions
, scholars have increasingly used the framework of energy justice to investigate the implementation of sustainable energy transitions and climate policies, based on the claim that these may aggravate forms of social inequity and vulnerability ( Bickerstaff et
Energy, Gender and Labour on an Electric Frontier
Kristin D. Phillips
ethnographic research conducted in rural Singida since 2004, this article engages recent work in the anthropology of energy to sketch Singidans’ prospect from this time and space of energy transition and change. It contributes to the ethnographic theorization
A Review of Global Hydropower Assemblages
Grant M. Gutierrez, Sarah Kelly, Joshua J. Cousins, and Christopher Sneddon
This article reviews how global hydropower assemblages catalyze socioecological change in the world’s rivers. As a quintessential megaproject, massive dams and the hydropower they generate have long captivated the modernist development imaginary. Yet, despite growing recognition of the socio-ecological consequences of hydropower, it has recently assumed a central role in supporting renewable energy transitions. We highlight three trends in hydropower politics that characterize global hydropower assemblages: mega-dams as markers of nation-state development; river protection by territorial alliances and social movements opposed to hydropower; and transitions from spectacular, centralized hydropower installations to the propagation of small and large hydropower within climate mitigation schemes. We offer insights on how global hydropower assemblages force examination beyond traditional categories of “mega” through more holistic and grounded analyses of significance.
Germany Rethinks its Energy Transition
Josephine Moore and Thane Gustafson
Eighteen years after the adoption of the Renewable Energy Sources Act ( Erneuerbare Energien Gesetz or eeg ), German political and business leaders are re-examining the foundations of the Energiewende (Energy Transition), reconsidering its
Jaap Westbroek, Harry Nijhuis, and Laurent van der Maesen
fundamental to physics. It is essential to note that both of these laws are researched in isolated systems of energy transition. In open systems—as we will see below—the laws are also applicable, though their workings are more complicated to identify. The
Fuelling Capture: Africa's Energy Frontiers
Michael Degani, Brenda Chalfin, and Jamie Cross
We are at a moment of global energy transition. As heatwaves, droughts, floods and other climate change catastrophes pile up ( Slater 2019 ), the decarbonization of the global economy has become the century's signature political issue. In 2018