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Economics of Green Germany – the Case of the Energiewende (2015)

Duke 2015 students at an excursion to the InnoZ campus


© Benjamin Görlach


Economics of Green Germany – the Case of the Energiewende (2015)

Berlin, Germany

As part of its long-standing cooperation with Duke University, the Ecologic Institute implemented a course on Germany's energy transition (Energiewende), offered to Duke students as part of the Duke in Berlin Summer Program.

The six-week course provides a comprehensive view of the Energiewende – Germany's effort to reshape its energy system, the industry, and building sectors into a nuclear-free, low-carbon economy. The course applies a range of analytical methods – including economic assessment tools, legal analysis and political science – to shed light on different facets of the Energiewende, and to help understand the public and academic debates around it. The course thus offers different angles – looking at the economics of the Energiewende, as well as the technological, social, ethical, legal and political implications.

The course faculty includes senior staff of the Ecologic Institute with backgrounds in economics, law, political science, engineering and history. The course can therefore draw on the extensive and varied expertise of the Ecologic Institute on a range of topics, and offer a number of different disciplinary angles. The teaching in class is complemented by discussions with stakeholders and policy makers from the political center of Berlin. 

Over six weeks, the course covers the following topics:

  1. Towards a low-carbon economy: visions and targets, policies and politics of Germany's Energiewende
  2. Is the Energiewende on track? Insights from the monitoring process
  3. Leading the transformation: the renewable energy sources act (EEG)
  4. The European and global context: the German Energiewende as an example of multi-level governance
  5. The political economy of the Energiewende
  6. Can carbon pricing drive the Energiewende? The role of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme
  7. Post-carbon cities for tomorrow: planning for smarter, energy-efficient urban areas
  8. The Energiewende Paradox: the coal question
  9. Electricity markets and their role for the Energiewende
  10. Nuclear power and its cost: who should pay for the nuclear legacy?
  11. A macroeconomic look at the Energiewende: implications for investment and distributional impacts
  12. Controversies around the Energiewende: The case of bioenergy


With this course, the Ecologic Institute provides US students with a first-hand account of Germany's energy transition – delving into the law, economics, politics and the technical implementation.


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Berlin, Germany
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