• Christian von HirschhausenEmail author
  • Clemens Gerbaulet
  • Claudia Kemfert
  • Casimir Lorenz
  • Pao-Yu Oei


This chapter provides an introduction to the book entitled “energiewende “Made in Germany”—Low-Carbon Electricity Sector Reform in the European Context”. The energiewende is the German approach to the low-carbon transformation. It emerged at a time where many countries in Europe and around the globe were considering how to move to lower carbon energy systems, and most of them still are. Our working hypothesis, based on extensive modeling exercises, policy consulting, personal on-site case studies, and the growing literature, is that the energiewende is a unique political-historical period that will transform the structure of the German energy sector, leading to more decentralized energy production and decision-making and transforming the structure of the energy industry within Germany and beyond. So far, the energiewende has been a success overall, in particular because the foundation for a renewables-based electricity system has been laid. Yet other objectives had to be postponed, though, such as the GHG emission reduction target for 2020 (−40%, relative to 1990). While the lessons of the energiewende do not apply directly to all countries and regions worldwide, they offer insights from the natural experiment of transforming a large-scale, conventional electricity system based on coal and nuclear energy into a renewables-based system. Our analysis focuses on the electricity sector, but we also address other challenges in the transport and heating sectors, as well as the upcoming interconnectedness between the three, called “sector coupling”. Section 1.2 spells out the key characteristics of the energiewende, which later chapters will analyze in more detail. Section 1.3 looks at the German energiewende in the context of the energy and climate policy literature, Sect. 1.4 presents a detailed outline of the book, and the last Section concludes with acknowledgements.


Energiewende Low-carbon energy transformation Germany Europe Electricity 



An undertaking like this book is necessarily a collective work, and there are many individuals and organizations involved in it. Special thanks go to our colleagues who participated in or commented on the research projects reported on in this book. We hope that our list of references includes the relevant names, but want to specifically acknowledge Thorsten Beckers, Jochen Dieckmann, Leonard Göke, Christian Hauenstein, Albert Hoffrichter, Mario Kendziorski, Martin Kittel, Philipp Litz, Ann-Katrin Lenz, Jonas Mugge-Durum, Ralf Ott, Catharina Rieve, Wolf-Peter Schill, Julian Schwarzkopf, Daniel Weber, and Alexander Zerrahn; Alexander Weber and Bobby Xiong served as our consultants for editing and bibliography, and Linus Lawrenz and Ben Wealer helped to format and submit the final manuscript. Once more, Deborah Bowen helped with language and style.

We also thank four anonymous reviewers for concise and useful reports, and Patrick Graichen, Hans-Joachim Fell, and Uwe Nestle for suggestions on an earlier manuscript. Special thanks also go to our Publisher Springer, in particular Barbara Fess and Marion Kreisel, for regular and efficient exchange on various issues, and for bearing with us during the publication process. We also thank those who have helped us discover the energiewende during the last decade, researchers, stakeholders, activists, policymakers, etc.!!!

Some of the research presented in this book was developed in two large projects funded by the Stiftung Mercator, in its Center for Climate Change: (1) the project MASMIE (“modelling the energiewende”), led by DIW Berlin (Department of Energy, Transport and the Environment); and (2) the project EE-Netze (“networks for renewables”), led by the Workgroup for Infrastructure Policy (WIP) at Berlin University of Technology, both with various research partners. We thank the Stiftung Mercator for their support, in particular Dr. Lars Grotewold, Head of the Department Climate Change, and Philipp Offergeld, our project manager. In addition, this book includes research from two projects funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF): (1) The junior research group CoalExit (“Economics of Coal Phase-Out—Identifying Building Blocks for Future Regional Transition Frameworks”, grant no. 01LN1704A), located at TU Berlin; and (2) RESOURCES (“International Energy Resource Markets under Climate Constraints–Strategic Behavior and Carbon Leakage in Coal, Oil, and Natural Gas Markets”; grant no. 01LA1135B) carried out at DIW Berlin. Numerous participants at three Berlin Conferences on Energy Economics (BELEC) from 2015 until 2017 and at other workshops, through own work, discussions, and critique. Last but not least, we thank our administrative support, Dagmar Rauh at DIW Berlin, and Petra Haase at TU Berlin.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian von Hirschhausen
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Clemens Gerbaulet
    • 1
    • 2
  • Claudia Kemfert
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Casimir Lorenz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pao-Yu Oei
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.TU BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.DIW BerlinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Hertie School of GovernanceBerlinGermany
  4. 4.German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU)BerlinGermany
  5. 5.Junior Research Group, “CoalExit”BerlinGermany

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