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Sustainable energy transition and its demand for scarce resources: Insights into the German Energiewende through a new risk assessment framework


  • Schischke, A.
  • Papenfuß, P.
  • Brem, M.
  • Kurz, P.
  • Rathgeber, A.W.


In this study, a new framework to analyze resource-demanding projects in regard to their risk of resource scarcity is proposed and exemplary applied on the German energy transition (Energiewende). With the interpretation of a commodity’s price as an economic scarcity indicator, price thresholds are defined, which, once exceeded, determine a commodity to be scarce. The corresponding probability of scarcity is derived via a logistic regression model, given pre-selected price determinants. The combination of this probability of scarcity with the substitutability of a commodity, as well as the scaled demand per project, results in the commodity-specific expected loss due to scarcity, which, aggregated over all commodities, marks the final risk indicator, the expected loss due to scarcity per project. In a case study, the framework is applied to the resource requirements for eight transformation pathways of the German energy system, differing in the climate targets as well as the German societies acceptance for the required actions. The results highlight the general high demand in cobalt, mainly used for energy storage. In combination with a relatively high probability of scarcity, this reveals a potential bottleneck for the German Energiewende.

Suggested Citation

  • Schischke, A. & Papenfuß, P. & Brem, M. & Kurz, P. & Rathgeber, A.W., 2023. "Sustainable energy transition and its demand for scarce resources: Insights into the German Energiewende through a new risk assessment framework," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 176(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:176:y:2023:i:c:s1364032123000461
    DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2023.113190

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