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The German Energiewende under attack: Is there an irrational Sonderweg?

  • Gawel, Erik
  • Strunz, Sebastian
  • Lehmann, Paul

The German energy transition repeatedly faces harsh critiques questioning its economic and environmental merit. This article defends the Energiewende and argues that Germany has chosen a rational and particularly forceful approach to securing sustainable energy supply. Though current expenditures are high, the long-run benefits of transforming the energy system to a renewables-based system are likely to outweigh present investment costs. Furthermore, support policies for renewables are not redundant - as some critics claim - but complement other policy instruments, such as the emissions trading scheme. The article also addresses the motives behind the discrediting attacks on the German energy policy regime. Defense actions by beneficiaries of the former energy market structure are only to be expected, but the attacks from liberal economists are astonishingly fierce.

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Paper provided by Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS) in its series UFZ Discussion Papers with number 15/2012.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:ufzdps:152012
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  1. Rüdiger Pethig & Christian Wittlich, 2009. "Interaction of Carbon Reduction and Green Energy Promotion in a Small Fossil-Fuel Importing Economy," CESifo Working Paper Series 2749, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Fischer, Carolyn & Newell, Richard, 2004. "Environmental and Technology Policies for Climate Mitigation," Discussion Papers dp-04-05, Resources For the Future.
  3. Matthias Kalkuhl & Ottmar Edenhofer & Kai Lessmann, 2011. "Learning or Lock-in: Optimal Technology Policies to Support Mitigation," CESifo Working Paper Series 3422, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Lehmann, Paul & Gawel, Erik, 2013. "Why should support schemes for renewable electricity complement the EU emissions trading scheme?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 597-607.
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