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The climate crisis threatens the very foundation of modern society. To avert it, the global economy needs to fully decarbonize within a generation. In this formidable challenge, energy consumption takes center stage as power plants, vehicles, and buildings generate the majority of EU emissions. Mature low-carbon technologies and practices exist, but they require new regulation and incentives to be scaled up successfully. Ecologic Institute's research focuses on building a framework for energy sector decarbonization.

Using its skills in legal, economic, and indicator-based analysis, the energy team assesses and designs effective energy policies at all government levels. To this end, we regularly debate solutions with relevant practitioners and stakeholders. A central research area is EU energy regulation and its interaction with the German energy transition.

The team's expertise includes renewable energy and efficiency, electricity market design, the coal exit, and sector coupling, i.e. at the interface between power, transport, and heating. Our legal work focuses on EU energy law and its transposition into national law and the legal challenges arising from digitalization.

Capacity building and education on the energy transition is another cornerstone of our work. Only with a wider understanding of the need for change and its implications for each single household will countries succeed in transforming their energy sectors.

In interdisciplinary projects, the energy team also studies nexus issues, including on questions related the resource needs of the energy transition or interlinkages between energy measures and needs to adapt to climate change.


International Development




Matthias Duwe
Head, Climate




Nick Evans
Transatlantic Coordinator









Benjamin Görlach
Head, Economics and Policy Assessment
Senior Fellow

Environmental Law – Ecologic Legal






Dr. Stephan Sina
Senior Fellow
Coordinating In-house Counsel
Selected Projects for Energy
The EU has specified climate neutrality as a legally binding 2050 target. This transformation requires bold policy tools that can deliver concrete results – sector-by-sector. To inspire policymakers across the EU to get active, Agora Energiewende is compiling best... Read more

Transitioning to Net Zero' Success Stories


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By 2030, 80% of the electricity generated in Germany is to come from renewable sources. For this to succeed, electricity market regulations must be further developed. On behalf of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Environment, Ecologic Institute analyzes various... Read more
In this project, Clean Energy Wire (CLEW) and Ecologic Institute organised a series of 10 online briefing events (webinars) to inform journalists about the key elements and topics of European energy and climate policy. In total, more than 130 journalists from 30... Read more

Event Series on the European Energy Transition

Photovoltaic technology is a key lever for decarbonising Berlin's power consumption and for social participation in the transformation process, especially for tenants. Therefore, solar energy and projects on rental apartment blocks are key elements of the Berlin Senate... Read more
In the research programme "Smart Energy Showcases – Digital Agenda for the Energy Transition" (SINTEG), over 300 research institutions and companies in five model regions are developing new solutions for a completely renewable energy system. Ecologic Institute is part... Read more
Mabel Amber |
Without a thorough transformation in the transport sector, the energy transition will not succeed. On the one hand, emissions caused by mobility must be significantly reduced. On the other hand, the two sectors of transport and energy need to be linked. Lower Saxony,... Read more
Addressing energy consumption and related GHG emissions from buildings constitute a major challenge in the light of the climate crisis. At the same time, the interplay of building policies with other policy areas comes into focus with sector coupling, digitalization but... Read more

Integrated Approaches for the Renovation and Modernisation of the Built Environment

Wikimedia © Christoffer Riemer
The decarbonization of the German energy system, the so-called German "Energiewende," was officially adopted with the introduction of the "Energy Concept" of September 2010 and the energy policy decisions of June 2011. These decisions foresee the development of a highly... Read more
|Fotolia © Chungking
Europe's energy sector transformation is now well on its way. Yet, to reach the EU's ambitious decarbonisation target for 2050, more fundamental changes will be required in the energy and transport system after 2020. To provide a solid basis for decision-makers, the... Read more
From June 2018 to the end of January 2019, the Commission on "Growth, Structural Change and Employment" met as an independent body comprised of covering a broad cross-section of social, political and economic actors. As per its mandate from the German Federal Government... Read more
| Fotolia © PixMedia
The increased importance of renewable energy for the electricity sector in the context of the energy transition ("Energiewende") requires that the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) be made more consistent with the Energy Act (EnWG). On behalf of the Federal Ministry for... Read more
| Fotolia © tomas
The pending transformation of the German and European electricity system resulting from rising shares of renewable energy is triggering new technical requirements for both electricity producers and consumers. These requirements include "network codes", bodies of... Read more
| Fotolia © thomas haltinner
The TRAFIS project investigates the development of climate resilient and resource-conserving infrastructures through the lens of transition and action research. The project focuses primarily on interlinked infrastructures. Infrastructure and infrastructure systems... Read more
Between September and December 2016, Ecologic Institute, the International Journalist Programme (IJP) and Clean Energy Wire (CLEW) collaboratively organized five study tours on the German energy transition for journalists from North and Latin America, Africa and Asia.... Read more
All projects on Energy
Selected Publications for Energy
Cover of the publication "StromNachbarn: Reformoptionen für einen beschleunigten Ausbau von Photovoltaikanlagen auf Mehrfamilienhäusern in Berlin" with a view over Berlin

© Ecologic Institute

The state of Berlin and the federal German government have set themselves ambitious goals for the expansion of photovoltaics (PV) by 2030. These goals can only be achieved if all market segments quickly start to grow and keep on growing, including the segment of PV... Read more

Umpfenbach, Katharina et al. 2022: StromNachbarn: Reformoptionen für einen beschleunigten Ausbau von Photovoltaikanlagen auf Mehrfamilienhäusern in Berlin. Wissen. Wandel. Berlin. | Report Nr. 24. Berlin: Ecologic Institut.

Cover of the publication "Handlungsempfehlungen der SINTEG-Schaufenster zur Anpassung des Rechtsrahmens. Bericht für die Fachöffentlichkeit"

© Ecologic Institute

In the "Smart Energy Showcase" programme (SINTEG), more than 300 research institutes and companies in five model regions developed solutions for a future energy system that will be entirely based on renewable energies. The participants not only developed new... Read more

Umpfenbach, Katharina; Stephan Sina; David Reichwein; Lina-Marie Dück 2021: Handlungsempfehlungen der SINTEG-Schaufenster zur Anpassung des Rechtsrahmens. Bericht für die Fachöffentlichkeit. Berlin: Ecologic Institute.

Cover "Phasing out Coal in Chile and Germany"


Both Germany and Chile have decided to phase out coal, not only to achieve their climate targets, but also to modernise their electricity sector. In this publication, the experiences of both countries are analysed and contrasted in order to distill lessons for... Read more

Hauser, Philipp; Benjamin Görlach, Katharina Umpfenbach et. al. 2021: Phasing Out Coal in Chile and Germany. A Comparative Analysis. Agora Energiewende: Berlin.

publication's cover

© DLR, Ecologic Institute

For Germany to reach itsclimate targets, new ways of thinking mobility are essential. The federal state of Lower Saxony is confronted with significant challenges in its mobility transition due to the important role cars play in the region. Thus, the switch to renewable... Read more

Anderson, John et. al. 2021: NeueWege Wege zur nachhaltigen Mobilität in Niedersachsen. Fachgutachten. DLR, Ecologic Institute: Berlin.



Tenant electricity systems generate solar power on apartment buildings and deliver it directly to the households in the building. In a new study, Katharina Umpfenbach and Ricarda Faber evaluate the effects of the existing tenant electricity systems in Berlin. The bottom... Read more

Umpfenbach, K., Faber, R. (2021). StromNachbarn: Evaluation der sozialen und ökologischen Wirkungen von Mieterstromanlagen in Berlin, Berlin: Ecornet Berlin.

Publication's cover

© Agora Energiewende

The EU has raised its climate target for 2030 to at least -55 % and is now debating how to reform its climate policy architecture so that it can reach it. In a new study, Agora Energiewende and Ecologic Institute sketch a "Fit for 55" package that can ensure both... Read more

Agora Energiewende and Ecologic Institute (2021): A "Fit for 55" package based on environmental integrity and solidarity: Designing an EU climate policy architecture for ETS and effort sharing to deliver 55% lower GHG emissions by 2030, Berlin: Agora Energiewende.

Cover publication AIA EU 2030

Ecologic Institute

On 17 September 2020, the European Commission proposed to raise the EU climate target for 2030, so as to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared to 1990. In this policy brief, CLIMACT and Ecologic Institute unpack the Commission's impact assessment for the new... Read more

Climact, Ecologic Institute (2020): Analysing the impact assessment on raIsing the EU 2030 climate target - How does the European Commission’s approach compare with other existing studies?

publication's cover

© Ecologic Institute

As part of a project to structure the energy law, Ecologic Institute contributed to a discussion paper on conceptual considerations on the concept of plant in the Renewable Energy Act . Based on the functions of the term "plant", the authors recommend a new... Read more

Hartmut Kahl; Wieland Lehnert; Martin Altrock; Stephan Sina 2020: Diskussionspapier: Konzeptionelle Überlegungen zum Anlagenbegriff des EEG.

This publication is the fourth of Eurostat’s regular reports monitoring progress towards the SDGs in an EU context. The analysis in this publication builds on the EU SDG indicator set, developed in cooperation with a large number of stakeholders. The indicator set... Read more

Bley, Simon Johannes, et al. (ed.) 2020: Sustainable Development in the European Union. Monitoring Report on Progress Towards the SDGs in an EU Context. [eurostat Statistical books 2020 edition]. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

The introduction of electric vehicles (EVs) is one way to significantly reduce emissions from cars — if combined with a transition to a renewable electricity system — thus helping countries meet their climate and air quality goals. Numerous governments around the world... Read more

Velten, Eike Karola, Stoll, Theresa; Meinecke, Lisa (2019): Measures for the promotion of electric vehicles. Ecologic Institute, Berlin. Commissioned by Greenpeace e.V.

A report by Ecologic Institute and Climact shows that the draft National Energy and Climate Plans presented by governments at the start of 2019 are in acute need of improvement. They suffer from inadequate targets and insufficient details on the policies and financing... Read more

Duwe, Matthias; Eike Karola Velten, Nick Evans, Mona Freundt, Julien Pestiaux, Benoît Martin, Pascal Vermeulen (2019): Planning for net-zero: Assessing the Draft National Energy and Climate Plans. Berlin, Louvain-la-Neuve, Bruessels.

In January 2019, Germany made a big step towards a coal phase-out: A stakeholder commission established by the federal government agreed on a schedule for plant retirement and on measures to support coal regions. For experts and journalists seeking to understand the... Read more

German Institute for Economic Research, Wuppertal Institute, Ecologic Institute (eds.) 2019: Phasing out Coal in the German Energy Sector. Interdependencies, Challenges and Potential Solutions.

Which trends and developments characterise the energy system in the overlapping phases of change of the energy transition? Which opportunities and also which risks are borne by digital technologies and data-based business models in view of an ecologically oriented... Read more

Lucha, Christine and Lisa Meinecke 2019: Alte Energiewelt – Neue Energiewelt. Trends und Akteure in einem zunehmend digitalen Energiesystem. böll.brief GRÜNE ORDNUNGSPOLITIK #9. Berlin: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung. CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0

On 7 October 2019, Eurostat published its most recent flagship publication "Smarter, greener, more inclusive?". The report assesses the EU's progress in implementing the Europe 2020 strategy. Commissioned by Eurostat, Katharina Umpfenbach and Amely Gundlach of Ecologic... Read more

Anna Sabadash et al. 2019: Smarter, greener, more inclusive? – Indicators to support the Europe 2020 strategy. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

In challenging times, the EU is discussing how to reform its energy and climate policy for the period after 2020. The short study "Energiewende as a European project" looks at the negotiations on the Clean Energy package from a German perspective. Katharina Umpfenbach... Read more

Umpfenbach, Katharina (2017): Die Energiewende als europäisches Projekt. Chancen, Reibungspunkte [Energy transition as a European project]. Study commissioned by the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Berlin: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung.

All publications on Energy
Selected Events for Energy

© Ecologic Institute

On 30 April 2021 at the online Berliner ENERGIETAGE, the research network Ecornet Berlin presented how tenants can benefit from the energy transition. Members of the research network provided three expert inputs on: "Energy poverty in Berlin" (IÖW) "The impacts... Read more

Digital Event:What Role do Tenants Play in the Energy Transition in Berlin?

Berlin, Germany
Bundesumweltministerin Svenja Schulze | Foto: Stefan Röhl
The final event of the dialogue forum "Wirtschaft macht Klimaschutz" took place on 11 March 2020 at the Turbinenhalle in Berlin. Over the past two years, representatives from more than 100 companies have jointly developed ideas, projects and concrete steps to promote... Read more

Conference:Business Mitigates Climate Change – Final Event of the Dialogue Forum

Berlin, Germany
In response to Brexit, the EU has initiated a process of self-reflection and, if necessary, reform - the so-called Bratislava Process or the Process of the Future of Europe. As a contribution to this process, the Ecologic Institute explored with different partners how... Read more
The conference "Planning for 2050", organised by Ecologic Institute, will take place on 23 May 2019 in Brussels. It takes stock of the experience with long-term climate strategies gained in Europe and presents lessons learnt as well as challenges encountered in... Read more

Conference:Planning for 2050 – Conference

Brussels, Belgium
From 22 to 28 September 2019, the Energy Future Exchange (EFEX) Program invites civil society leaders from the EU and US to join the EFEX Study Tour and experience the Future of Energy. The EFEX tour itinerary includes meetings and site visits in Belgium and the... Read more

Visitors Program:Hands-on the Future of Energy with the EFEX Study Tour 2019

Brussels, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amsterdam | Belgium, Netherlands
All events on Energy
Selected Presentations for Energy
© Christos Georghiou |
Ecologic Institute was asked by IASS to give a lecture on "Legal aspects of big data in the energy sector" at the ENavi Summer School 2019 on Digitalisation in the Energy Transition. Its participants consisted of persons with a strong interest in... Read more

Lecture:Legal Aspects of Big Data in the Energy Sector – Summer School Lecture

Potsdam, Germany
All presentations on Energy