Energiewende: German Angst or Bold Step Ahead?
Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany, 1998-2005
Germany is a highly industrialized country and with its recent decision to eliminate nuclear energy, it has the potential to become a model for how a carbon-free economy without nuclear power can prosper. However, the political environment in Germany means it has passed a "point of no return" - nuclear energy will be completely phased out in 2022 while Germany vows to continue to honor its greenhouse gas emissions reductions commitment. For Germany, there is no way back to the energy sources of the 20th Century.
Today, the country faces uncertainty regarding how exactly it will meet its energy needs while facing self-imposed nuclear and emissions constraints. But by creating a "sink or swim" situation, Germany will be forced to innovate and lead. In doing so, Germany seeks to create a huge opportunity for companies and technologies that will help it to master this ambitious energy transformation, or "Energiewende". A regulatory environment that favours cleaner energy sources, advanced storage solutions, better grid structure and management, and improved energy efficiency has the potential to develop into a uniquely innovative marketplace for companies around the world that lead in cutting edge green and clean technologies. A new chapter in German-American cooperation may unlock potential for developing the products of tomorrow and help demonstrate how growth can be uncoupled from emissions without relying on nuclear energy.