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The Transition of Energy Systems towards Sustainability: Challenges and Lessons Learnt from the German 'Energiewende'

Edited by: Prof Erik Gawel, Prof Armin Grunwald, Prof Daniela Thrän

The transition of the German energy system, the so called “Energiewende” is often regarded a success in terms of increasing the share of renewable energy sources (RES) in total electricity consumption. With increasing RES shares, however, a variety of sustainability challenges have become evident: the direct costs for electricity consumers, concerns associated with the security of energy supply and the spatio-ecological and spatio-social effects of RES deployment (land use conflicts, public acceptance, NIMBY). Furthermore, policy coordination across scales (municipalities, Länder, Germany, EU) seems to be rather weak.

  1. Original article

    Indicator system for the sustainability assessment of the German energy system and its transition

    In response to climate change, the limited availability of fossil fuels and the risks associated with nuclear energy, Germany’s energy transition aims to achieve a sustainable, environmentally sound supply of ...

    Christine Rösch, Klaus-Rainer Bräutigam, Jürgen Kopfmüller, Volker Stelzer and Patrick Lichtner

    Energy, Sustainability and Society 2017 7:1

    Published on: 23 January 2017

  2. Review

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    Improving the publics’ understanding of the energy system is a challenging task. Making citizens aware of how the complex energy system functions and how consumers of energy services can respond to a changing ...

    Huijie Li, Ilan Chabay, Ortwin Renn, Andreas Weber and Grace Mbungu

    Energy, Sustainability and Society 2015 5:37

    Published on: 22 December 2015

  3. Review

    Flexible bioenergy supply for balancing fluctuating renewables in the heat and power sector—a review of technologies and concepts

    Today bioenergy plays a major role in the renewable energy provision, for heat and power and for liquid biofuels as well. With an increasing share of renewables on the one hand side and a limited availability ...

    Daniela Thrän, Martin Dotzauer, Volker Lenz, Jan Liebetrau and Andreas Ortwein

    Energy, Sustainability and Society 2015 5:35

    Published on: 1 December 2015

  4. Forum article

    Capacity payments to secure electricity supply? On the future of Germany’s power market design

    Although the objectives of the Energiewende (energy transition) are broadly accepted in Germany, the practical ways of achieving them remain highly contentious. In particular, the question of whether and how secu...

    Paul Lehmann, Robert Brandt, Erik Gawel, Sven Heim, Klaas Korte, Andreas Löschel, Philipp Massier, Matthias Reeg, Dominik Schober and Sandra Wassermann

    Energy, Sustainability and Society 2015 5:15

    Published on: 29 April 2015

  5. Original article

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    Increasing the market and system integration of renewable energy sources (RES) is regarded as key to reducing the costs of RES support and transforming the electricity system. In several EU countries, feed-in ...

    Alexandra Purkus, Erik Gawel, Marc Deissenroth, Kristina Nienhaus and Sandra Wassermann

    Energy, Sustainability and Society 2015 5:12

    Published on: 16 April 2015

  6. Forum article

    The future of the energy transition in Germany

    Although the goals of the country’s energy transition (Energiewende) are widely accepted in Germany, the specific route to get there is itself a matter of great controversy. The individual measures that are part ...

    Erik Gawel, Paul Lehmann, Klaas Korte, Sebastian Strunz, Jana Bovet, Wolfgang Köck, Philipp Massier, Andreas Löschel, Dominik Schober, Dörte Ohlhorst, Kerstin Tews, Miranda Schreurs, Matthias Reeg and Sandra Wassermann

    Energy, Sustainability and Society 2014 4:15

    Published on: 8 July 2014