Key Findings

The German Energiewende is an ambitious, but feasible undertaking.

A lot of people outside Germany, including environmentalists, are skeptical. But even the skeptics like Germany’s goal of demonstrating that a thriving industrial economy can switch from nuclear and fossil energy to renewables and efficiency. The German can-do attitude is based on the experience over the last two decades, when renewables matured much more quickly, become more reliable and much cheaper than expected. The share of renewable electricity in Germany rose from 6 percent to nearly 25 percent in only ten years. On sunny and windy days, solar panels and wind turbines now increasingly supply up to half the country’s electricity demand, which no one expected just a few years ago. Recent estimates suggest that Germany will once again surpass its renewable electricity target and have more than 40 percent of its power from renewables by 2020. Furthermore, many German research institutes and the government and its agencies have run the numbers and developed sound scenarios for a renewable economy.