This policy brief examines how Germany and Japan are addressing questions of how to move away from both fossil and nuclear energy at the same time. The report identifies lessons relevant for the large-scale deployment of renewable energy in the United States, even given that a move away from nuclear is not part of U.S. policy.
Major Energy Economies: Germany
Transforming the Electricity Portfolio: Lessons from Germany and Japan in Deploying Renewable Energy
This report investigates and compares the pricing structures of residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Germany and the United States. LBNL deployed surveys to PV installers in both countries to collect data on their average cost breakdowns. Results show that in 2012, residential PV was twice as expensive in the United States ($5.29/watt) as it was in Germany ($2.59/watt). The report states that it is primarily caused by differences in non-hardware or “soft” costs, and explains why this price variation occurs between countries. It concludes with recommendations for how the United States can implement policies and incentives to accelerate PV cost reductions to approach Germany’s figures.
This paper summarizes a study that demonstrates the feasibility of Germany achieving greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050. Achieving such a goal would require reducing greenhouse gas emissions 95 percent below 1990 levels, and lowering the per capita carbon footprint to approximately 1 ton CO2eq per year. The paper discusses reduction efforts in each of Germany’s economic sectors – energy, transport, industry, waste and wastewater, agriculture, and land use (LULUCF). It concludes that the country can become greenhouse gas-neutral purely through boosting renewable sources (without biomass, nuclear, or carbon capture and sequestration) and through halving energy consumption.
This op-ed piece discusses the successes and failures that Germany has encountered during its Energiewende, or energy transition. Despite the country’s many achievements in renewable energy policy and practices, energy customers remain concerned with the increase in variable energy sources creating an unreliable supply of electricity or raising energy bills. As Germany’s electric power system continues to evolve, policymakers will need to consider how existing programs, market structures, and utility business models will need to change in order to remain effective and relevant.
This article, written by Agora Energiewende’s director, Ranier Baake, describes the important, yet challenging, need to integrate renewable energy sources onto the power grid. Since the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Germany has turned to renewables, especially wind and solar, as a safer alternative. However, renewables are often more complicated energy sources, mainly due to their variability, so synchronization with existing energy framework will be a key goal for Energiewende. Baake makes several suggestions for optimizing renewable energy’s role in the power sector, such as making production and consumption more flexible, expanding the electrical grid, and eventually restructuring the market design currently included in the German Renewable Energies Act.
This study by Agora Energiewende, a joint initiative of the Mercator Foundation and the European Climate Foundation, looked at how to cost optimally expand renewables across Germany. The study concludes that in 2023, an optimized expansion of wind and solar power in Germany could save around two billion euros a year. Additionally, Agora found that an optimization toward a consumption-driven renewable expansion leads to roughly the same savings as optimization toward a resource-driven expansion. Agora determined that these findings hold true for 2033 as well as 2023.
This discussion paper from Agora Energiewende explores how Germany can transform its power sector from nuclear and coal to renewables within the next four decades. The paper notes the key role solar and wind will play in this transition, as well as how the rest of the world may learn from Germany’s experience. The authors conclude by pointing out the most cost-effective way to transform the power sector is through efficiency measures. This paper succinctly draws attention to both the feasibility and barriers to achieving a high share of renewables in the next forty years.
This report analyzes Germany’s energy efficiency policies and measures. Sections of the report include a background on energy efficiency, assessment of overall trends in energy efficiency, evaluation of energy efficiency policies in Germany, and national developments under the EU Energy Efficiency Directive and the 20% Energy Efficiency Target. It concludes future energy efficiency policies will depend on further implementation of of the policies proposed in the Energy Concept and “Energiewende” decisions, and how the demands of the new Energy Efficiency Directive of the EU will be implemented on the national level in Germany.
This report describes Germany’s energy transition, or Energiewende, and discusses the technologies and policies that are necessary to drive the clean energy market. It includes a section on the evolution of Energiewende and how historical energy-related events contributed to its development. The report concludes with a Question & Answers section that helps debunk some of the myths associated with clean energy technologies, policies, and finance.
WWF Germany’s brochure intends to address the myths that surround Germany’s energy transition, or Energiewende. Its first section introduces ten guiding elements for a successful energy transition, including establishment of a zero-carbon electricity system, enforcement of energy efficiency, grid expansion and strengthening, etc. The following sections present four common ‘myths’ or assumptions about renewable energy in Germany’s energy transition (including issues with electricity affordability, deindustrialization, economic difficulties for households, and infrastructure problems) and respond with facts that debunk them.