Feature Reports

Germany and Energy

Solar mirrors installed on the roofs of a small village with church and farmhouses in Franconia, Bavaria (Germany).
At all levels, Germany is putting its faith in renewable energies for its Energiewende, or energy transition ©SHUTTERSTOCK

The world’s fourth largest economy– ranking sixth in terms of COemissions – Germany is faced with the challenge of ensuring the future of its highly competitive industries while also securing an energy transition that is free of nuclear power and less dependent on fossil fuels. To meet this ambition, Germany has focused on large-scale development of renewable energies, especially wind and solar.  The country’s policy, known as the Energiewende, is designed to take on several successive challenges: phasing out nuclear power without increasing the use of coal, reducing coal consumption over the medium term without becoming more dependent on Russian gas, and overcoming the intermittency of renewable energies by developing its power grids and electricity storage capacity. It is also imperative that Germany transition toward more sustainable mobility without weakening its global position in the auto industry. As the European Union’s leading economy, Germany can only successfully achieve its energy transition by leveraging energy exchanges – primarily power trades – with neighboring countries, in particular France.

Allemagne : les équilibres énergétiques

As well as being Europe’s most populous country with close to 83 million inhabitants, Germany is also the continent’s largest economy. Its strong industrial base was founded on coalCoal is ranked by its degree of transformation or maturity, increasing in carbon content from... and steelmaking in the 19thcentury, then expanded into multiple sectors that rely heavily on exports, including machine tools, automobiles and chemicals, making German companies constantly concerned about remaining competitive. For the last 20 years, the energy sector has been the focus of assertive public policy, referred to as the Energiewende.

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Les défis de l'Energiewende_.jpg

Despite having launched an assertive public policy, the Energiewende, Germany faces numerous challenges to achieving its energy transition. It will have to eliminate coalCoal is ranked by its degree of transformation or maturity, increasing in carbon content from..., in addition to already having decided to phase out nuclear, in order to avoid increasing its COemissions. It must reorganize its powerIn physics, power is the amount of energy supplied by a system per unit time. In simpler terms, power can be viewed as energy output... grid on a national scale and find solutions for storing electricityForm of energy resulting from the movement of charged particles (electrons) through a conductor... produced using renewables. It needs to reduce its dependence on Russian natural gas. And lastly, it has to reposition powerful industries, like automobile manufacturing, to be less dependent on oil imports.

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Allemagne et renouvelables

Immediately after New Year’s Eve 2017, between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. of January 1, 2018, Germany’s powerIn physics, power is the amount of energy supplied by a system per unit time. In simpler terms, power can be viewed as energy output... output from renewables was equal to the country’s electricityForm of energy resulting from the movement of charged particles (electrons) through a conductor... use. What does this mean exactly and what can we learn from it?

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