The German Energy Transition Between Energy Independence and Decarbonization

The German ‘Energiewende’ (Energy transition) is a long-term policy strategy that aims at transforming the German energy system from a fossil-fuel, nuclear dependent system, to a renewable, sustainable and low-carbon system. The project gained worldwide momentum in 2011 following the Fukushima nuclear accident, when Germany, with full political consensus, decided to phase-out nuclear power by 2022. This decision was a radical transition from the 2010 ‘Energiekonzept’ (Energy concept) which aimed at extending Germany’s nuclear power lifetime. Was the phasing-out of nuclear power the only energy transition that Germany undertook? And what were the determinants of such a transition? The study answers these questions by presenting the historical political and social factors that have led to the current energy transition. Findings highlight that Germany has undergone multiple transitions in its energy policy since the post-war era. These transitions, however, were characterized by Germany’s quest to achieve energy independence. Within these transitions, social and environmental movements have evolved from advocacy actors to political actors that highly influence political decisions in Germany. These two main factors evolved simultaneously to create the current energy transition.

Bio: Abou Baker Kaddour is a second-year MA International Affairs student at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University and is currently completing his co-op placement as an Analyst at the Climate Finance division, Global Affairs Canada. In 2019, he completed a summer research internship at the Technical University of Munich with the Jean Monnet Canada-EU Centre, during which he researched the historical and current contexts that led to the German energy transition ‘Energewiende’. Driven by a vision of ‘energy for all’, he is passionate about the intersection between #SDG7 and #SDG17: providing reliable clean energy access by utilizing global partnership for the goals. His recent publication in the Queen’s Policy Review Journal is titled: “From Blue to Green Helmets: Guiding International Development by SDG 17 Through Climate Change”. He has an MA in Sustainable Energy Policy from Carleton University (2020) and BSc. Electrical-Electronic engineering from Zirve University (2016) (currently Gaziantep University) in Turkey.