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In the transition of energy systems: What lessons can be learnt from the German achievement?

Cheung, Grace, Davies, Peter J., Bassen, Alexander
Energy policy 2019 v.132 pp. 633-646
clean energy, energy, energy costs, energy policy, industrialization, models, nuclear power, politics, Australia, Germany
This paper assesses the energy transition in Germany from 1990 to 2017 with a focus on the politics and energy policies of the three German Chancellors. Its aim is to investigate the factors underlying the outcomes from a socio-political perspective and through this offer insight as to energy policy reforms that may be transferrable to other governments. We reveal the incremental and politically pivotal role of grassroots movements against nuclear power forming the catalyst and ongoing driver for Germany's energy transition - the Energiewende. Energiewende harbors a compelling socio-technical experiment based on government-led policy-driven structural changes to the energy system that has concurrently supported a heavily industrialized economy. Despite higher energy costs, borne disproportionally by residents, the energy vision and social experiment shared decadal and multi government cross-partisan political and community support. This socio-political policy stability provides a notable point of difference when comparing the energy transitions of lagging nations such as Australia that reveals the criticality of policy certainty to support investment towards new models of clean energy generation and distribution.