Energy  |  Publications  |  07.06.2012

Series on German Energy Transition

The Heinrich Böll Foundation is publishing a six-part series on German Energy Transition. The authors are experts on different issues such as renewable energies, rural communities, social movements, and nuclear power.

While comments are rising to establish Germany as a model for green growth, the Heinrich Böll Foundation will publish throughout the summer a six-part series describing and commenting the German Energy Transition. Here are the first three parts of this series.

This post will be updated in the next weeks to add the three remaining parts.

Part 1: Angst or Arithmetic? Why Germans are so Skeptical about Nuclear Energy

The fact that Germany, in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, redoubled its efforts to phase out nuclear energy has nothing to do with hysteria or postwar angst. On the contrary, a majority of Germans, including much of the political class, has been unconvinced of its merits since the early 1980s; the source of this anti-atom consensus lies not in emotional populism but rather in the persuasive, fact-based arguments of a powerful, grassroots social movement that has long included nuclear physicists and other bona fide experts. This paper is analysing the reasons of Germans' skepticism about nuclear energy.

Part 2: German Solar Bubble? Look Again!

Germany was a first mover in the solar sector. Recent bankruptcies call its early commitment into question, but a closer look shows how well positioned Germany remains. Germany benefits from solar manufacturing in China by selling a lot of the production equipment and getting back cheap solar panels to install. America has been waiting for PV to become cost-competitive, and it now is. The time is right for the US to go solar. 

Part 3: Revitalizing Rural Communities through the Renewable Energy Cooperative

Cooperatives have a vast history of playing important roles in supporting local economies in both the Midwestern United States and Germany. Today, a significant opportunity exists to build on existing cooperative models in the Midwest to also supply sources of local, renewable energy production. A renewable energy cooperative effort could bring together individual farmers, rural electric and farmer cooperative associations, municipal utilities, equipment manufacturers, individual citizens to pool together resources for constructing and owning renewable energy generating facilities while creating a steady revenue stream for the local community. In this article, the author examines the lessons from Germany's rural small-town renewable energy revolution and how they may apply to the Midwestern United States.


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