Since the IEA last reviewed Germany’s energy policies in 2007, the country has taken two fundamental policy decisions that will guide its energy policy in coming decades. In September 2010, the federal government adopted the Energy Concept, a comprehensive new strategy for a long-term integrated energy pathway to 2050. Following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in March 2011, Germany decided to accelerate the phase-out of nuclear power by 2022 starting with the immediate closure of the eight oldest plants. This decision resulted in the adoption of a new suite of policy measures, determined renewable energy as the cornerstone of future energy supply, a set of policy instruments commonly known as the Energiewende.
In order to achieve the ambitious energy transformation set out in the Energiewende, by 2030 half of all electricity supply will come from renewable energy sources; Germany must continue to develop cost-effective market-based approaches which will support the forecast growth of variable renewable generation. Furthermore, the costs and benefits need to be allocated in a fair and transparent way among all market participants, especially households.
Renewable energy capacity must expand alongside the timely development of the transmission and distribution networks. In addition, a stable regulatory system is necessary to ensure long-term finance to network operators. Furthermore, close monitoring of Germany’s ability to meet electricity demand at peak times should continue in the medium term.
Energy policy decisions in Germany inevitably have an impact beyond the country’s borders and must be taken within the context of a broader European energy policy framework and in close consultation with its neighbours.
This review analyses the energy-policy challenges facing Germany and provides recommendations for further policy improvements. It is intended to help guide the country towards a more secure and sustainable energy future.