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The German energy transition as a regime shift

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  • Strunz, Sebastian

Abstract

In this paper, I use the resilience framework to interpret the project of transforming the German energy system into a renewable energy sources (RES)-based system, the so-called Energiewende, as a regime shift. This regime shift comprises several transformations, which are currently altering the technological, political and economic system structure. To build my argument, I first sketch how technological, political and economic developments reduced the resilience of the conventional fossil-nuclear energy regime and created a new RES-regime. Second, I depict recent changes in German public discourse and energy policy as the shift to the RES-regime. Third, I highlight challenges involved with increasing the resilience of the RES-regime. In particular, sufficient resilience of the electricity transmission grid appears to be crucial for facilitating the transformation of the whole energy system.

Suggested Citation

  • Strunz, Sebastian, 2013. "The German energy transition as a regime shift," UFZ Discussion Papers 10/2013, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ufzdps:102013
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    1. Foxon, Timothy J., 2013. "Transition pathways for a UK low carbon electricity future," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 10-24.
    2. Verbong, Geert & Geels, Frank, 2007. "The ongoing energy transition: Lessons from a socio-technical, multi-level analysis of the Dutch electricity system (1960-2004)," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 1025-1037, February.
    3. Fuchs, Gerhard & Hinderer, Nele & Kungl, Gregor & Neukirch, Mario, 2012. "Adaptive capacities, path creation and variants of sectoral change: The case of the transformation of the German energy supply system," Research Contributions to Organizational Sociology and Innovation Studies, SOI Discussion Papers 2012-02, University of Stuttgart, Institute for Social Sciences, Department of Organizational Sociology and Innovation Studies.
    4. Geels, Frank W., 2002. "Technological transitions as evolutionary reconfiguration processes: a multi-level perspective and a case-study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(8-9), pages 1257-1274, December.
    5. Krausmann, Fridolin & Schandl, Heinz & Sieferle, Rolf Peter, 2008. "Socio-ecological regime transitions in Austria and the United Kingdom," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 187-201, March.
    6. Geels, Frank W. & Schot, Johan, 2007. "Typology of sociotechnical transition pathways," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 399-417, April.
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    Keywords

    energy system; energy transition; regime shift; renewable energy sources; resilience;

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