The UK and Germany share similar climate change goals, but pursue rather different energy policy strategies. These differences include the technological focus (such as nuclear vs renewable energy) and the choice of instruments – creating a space for mutual exchange and learning. From 21 to 25 May 2012, Ecologic Institute organized and implemented a program for seven scientists, decision makers and journalists from the UK that focused on the Energy shift ("Energiewende") in Germany and included discussions with members of parliament and representatives from ministries, think tanks and NGOs.
The program started with a dinner talk on Germany's decision to phase out of nuclear energy with R. Andreas Kraemer, Director of Ecologic Institute, and a Convenor of the British-German Environment Forum (BGEF), setting the scene for the visit and putting recent developments into a European and international context. Over the course of the following four days, the participants were able to engage in discussions with various experts, allowing for a broad overview of and in-depth insights into the manifold opportunities and challenges related to the German experience with the Energiewende - and for them to provide examp les from the UK perspective in comparison, all participants being energy experts themselves.
The programme of this high-level delegation included among others the following events:
- Meeting with Franzjosef Schafhausen, Deputy Director General, Environment and Energy, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety on the political framework for renewable energy and climate policy in Germany and Europe
- Presentation and discussion with Prof. Dr. Diethard Mager, Deputy Director General - General Issues of Energy Policy, Energy Research, Renewable Energies, Coal Transfer to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi)
- Meeting with Bärbel Höhn, Deputy Chairperson of the Parliamentary Group Alliance 90/The Greens, Ulrich Kelber, Deputy Chairman of the Social Democratic Parliamentary Group and Josef Göppel, Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union, member of the Committee on the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety;
- Roundtable discussion with Rainer Hinrichs-Rahlwes of the German Renewable Energy Federation BEE (Bundesverband Erneuerbare Energie e.V.) and Alexander Knebel, Press and public relations, Renewable Energies Agency
- Presentation and discussion with Leon Macioszek, Director, Berlin Office and Bettina Dorendorf, Senior Economist, Product development housing, both of KfW Bankengruppe on the framework conditions for loans to promote the use of renewable energy and private investments in energy-saving homes and energy-efficient refurbishment
- Dinner discussion with Dr. Christian Hey, Secretary General, and Prof. Dr. Miranda Schreurs, both of the German Advisory Council on the Environment. Prof. Schreurs is also Director of the Environmental Policy Research Centre at the Freie Universität Berlin.
- Discussion with Prof. Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer, Co-Chair of Working Group III of the IPCC - Deputy Director and Chief Economist and Dr. Brigitte Knopf, head of Energy Strategies Europe and Germany both at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
- Roundtable at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) with Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of IASS and Co-Chair of the Ethics Commission on Safe Energy Supply (2011)
- NGO Roundtable with Sascha Müller-Kraenner, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Europe and Tobias Münchmeyer, Political Unit Deputy Director, Greenpeace Germany
- Talk with Dagmar Dehmer from the German daily "Der Tagesspiegel"
A field trip to the energy self-sufficient village of Feldheim in Brandenburg showed the group one of Germany's examples of local energy autonomy via private local heating and power grids.
A Riverside Chat "The Transformation of the German Energy System", featuring additional experts from the Berlin science, Think-Tank, NGO and policy community provided the floor for further exchange and discussions with the invited experts.
The program was sponsored by the German Federal Foreign Office and organized by the Ecologic Institute in close cooperation with the German Embassy in London.
Articles and documents
- Busting the carbon and cost myths of Germany's nuclear exit (Damian Carrington, Head of environment, in Damian Carrington's Environment Blog, 23 May 2012)
- Germany's renewable energy revolution leaves UK in the shade (Damian Carrington, Head of environment, The Guardian, Wednesday 30 May 2012)
- San Francisco Chronicle und AICGS Advisor: The nuclear endgame begins in Germany
- Final report [pdf, 245 kB, English] of the Ethics Commission for a Safe Energy