Germany’s energy transition, or Energiewende, has been a success story thus far in terms of renewable electricity production (especially solar PV and onshore wind), technological innovation, job creation, and citizen involvement in clean-energy generation, among other areas. Yet there is room for improvement.
One weakness of the current layout of the Energiewende is that, for the most part, it focuses on the national level alone. The impacts of this transition on neighbouring countries have hardly been addressed in Germany. Conversely, some of Germany’s European neighbours have called its nuclear phase-out into question. This is especially the case for Poland and the Czech Republic. At the same time, the energy transition is already having discernible effects on Germany’s neighbours, especially on their grid stability and electricity markets, without there being adequate consultation and coordination mechanisms in place. While Polish and Czech politicians are concerned about the consequences of the German energy transition for their energy systems, German decision-makers are largely unaware of their misgivings. These gaps in information and communication give rise to misconceptions and political friction, often fed by misleading and sometimes populist media coverage.
One lesson to be drawn from Germany’s Energiewende is that energy policy decisions taken in one EU member state affect other EU member states as well. For these reasons, the Heinrich Böll Foundation initiated a project entitled “The German Energy Transition in the European Context”. The point of departure is the conviction that the energy transition can only be implemented successfully if it is firmly embedded in a broader European context. More European coordination and cooperation is needed to avoid conflict and to create win-win situations. The project’s goals are to promote a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities created by Germany’s energy transition, and to encourage a solution-oriented dialogue about its effects on other EU member states.
About the authors
Members of the trilateral expert group
Summary and recommendations
1. Comparative energy profiles and debates
- 1.1. Key energy indicators
- 1.2. Energy policy and outlook
2. Cross-border perceptions and information gaps
- 2.1 Energy policy debate and perception of the Energiewende in the Czech Republic
- 2.2 Between leadership and self-referentiality: Germany and the foreign policy dimension of the energy transition
- 2.3 Energy policy debate and perception of the Energiewende in Poland
3. Three core issues tackled in the trilateral dialogue
- 3.1 Electricity system and markets
- 3.2 The debate on the transit (loop) flows through Poland and the Czech Republic
- 3.3 Renewable energy support schemes
4. EU energy policy – integration, cooperation or isolation?
Annex: Facts about the German Energiewende (energy transition)
List of references
List of abbreviations