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Economics of Green Germany – the Case of the Energiewende (2019)


© Duke University


Economics of Green Germany – the Case of the Energiewende (2019)

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. The Germany Energiewende: Introduction and Overview of the Drivers and Barriers
  2. From fossil to renewable: how does the energy system work, and how can it be transformed?
  3. Is the Energiewende on track? Insights from the monitoring process
  4. How did the Energiewende come about? A short history of the politics and policies from the anti-nuclear movement to the coal commission
  5. Can carbon pricing drive the Energiewende? The role of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme
  6. Energy Transition in the European Union – the Big Picture
  7. Aiming for 2050: How to decarbonize an economy?
  8. Joining forces? International cooperation on climate and energy as an example of multi-level governance
  9. The long road away from coal: the results of the German coal commission
  10. How to make the transition just and inclusive reinventing coal regions
  11. From nuclear and coal to smart energy services – What is the new role for utilities?
  12. Electricity markets and their role for the Energiewende
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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