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The German Energiewende – History, Targets, Policies and Challenges

David Jacobs


Over the past years, the German Energiewende (energy transition) has gained a lot of attention internationally. In particular, policy-makers and experts were impressed, astounded and sometimes shocked by the rapid decision of the German government to phase out nuclear power after the March 2011 accident in the Japanese power plants of Fukushima Daiichi. However, the term Energiewende implies a much larger scope of policies. With the aim to provide clarifications, this paper intends to define the term Energiewende, explain its historical context and describe the related targets and policies. In addition, the paper sheds light on the unique features of the German Energiewende in comparison to energy transitions in other jurisdictions.

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