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

Grace Cheung, Peter J. Davies*, Alexander Bassen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)633-646
    Number of pages14
    JournalEnergy Policy
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019


    • Climate and energy policy
    • Energiewende
    • Energy transition
    • Politics of climate change
    • Renewable energy


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