CISTP, CETS, Mod Langs, and German Consulate General in Atlanta Host Discussion on German Energiewende


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Presentation by Dr. Annegret Groebel on German Energiewende

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  • Annegret Groebel Annegret Groebel

On January 18th, the Center for European and Transatlantic Studies, the Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy, and the School of Modern Language, hosted Annegret Groebel, head of the Department of International Relations/Postal Regulation at the Consulate General of Germany in Atlanta. Dr. Groebel provided an overview of the German Energiewende, the process by which Germany is transforming its energy sector - gradually phasing out nuclear power to make way for increased sustainable energy from renewables.

In 2011, after seeing the ramifications of the Fukushima disaster, the German government created Energiewende to shift away from potentially dangerous nuclear energy in favor of  renewable energy. The first phase of Energiewende called for shutting down nuclear reactors and 8 were immediately closed in 2011, but all will be closed by 2022. The policies in 2011 also instituted the German Energy Package, which created 8 new laws or amendments to ensure the clear direction for the transfer to renewables. These laws covered all aspects of the shift - from restructuring the grid to increasing energy efficiency.

Dr. Groebel stated that there were some unforeseen impacts as the transition continued. Renewables grew much faster than expected, which led to a dramatic decrease in the price of power, but g rid expansion lags behind the growth of renewables, which makes the current priority to slow down growth and allow the grid to catch up.


Due to these unforeseen consequences, the original regulations and laws have had to be adjusted to accommodate the changes. Since 2015, Germany has been changing its laws to make a transition towards a more flexible energy system. For example, Dr. Groebel explained that renewables require a more flexible energy system, which is best achieved by a market-based approach. In 2016, the Electricity Market Design Act was passed to increase flexibility in the market. The Act made it law that the government would not interfere, and it created a new category of citizen called a “prosumer”, which encompassed those that are both consuming and producing energy through the use of renewables like solar panels.

Dr. Groebel concluded her talk by reaffirming that despite unforeseen consequences and trial and error, she considers Energiewende a positive way forward for Germany. It is a test bed for the transformation of the energy system enabling the integration of increasing renewable energy systems, and thus is a good strategy for other countries hoping to make the transition as well.  She closed by expressing hope that German mistakes can be lessons learned for others.

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Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy (CISTP), Sam Nunn School of International Affairs

Energy, Policy, Social Sciences, and Liberal Arts
Related Core Research Areas
Energy and Sustainable Infrastructure
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Germany, alternative energy
  • Created By: Christopher McDermott
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Feb 13, 2017 - 4:46pm
  • Last Updated: Feb 13, 2017 - 4:46pm