20 Apr 2017 | Julian Wettengel

A (very) brief timeline of Germany's Energiewende

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In 2014, the Green Party’s Julia Verlinden asked the federal government for its definition of a starting date for the “Energiewende”. In his reply, state secretary Uwe Beckmeyer argued that the transition to an energy supply based mostly on renewables was a continuous process, because it was impossible to speak of any “concrete starting date”. The following timeline provides a short overview of key events developments, movements and documents, in history of that process.

For a more in-depth timeline see the CLEW factsheet Milestones of the German Energiewende.

For an interactive timeline with additional documents visit Carbon Brief’s Timeline: The past, present and future of Germany’s Energiewende.

 

1973-75

“Nuclear Energy? No, thanks!” Birth of Germany’s anti-nuclear movement as protestors block construction of a nuclear power plant in Wyhl, close to Germany’s border with France

 

1979/80

Enter the Greens Germany’s Green Party is founded, with an exit from nuclear energy and a renewable future as key demands

Activists and politicians begin to use the term “Energiewende

 

1983

The Green Party enters the Bundestag for the first time

 

1986

Chernobyl disaster The accident solidifies Germans’ resistance to nuclear energy

Climate change The weekly Spiegel magazine publishes a cover story on global warming, prompting parliament to establish an advisory council to address concerns about climate change

 

1990

Nuclear phase-out #0 For economic and security reasons, the GDR’s only two nuclear power plants are switched off with the reunification of Germany

Ambitious targets Federal Cabinet adopts its first emissions reduction target: 25 to 30 percent fewer CO₂ emissions by 2005, compared to 1987 levels

 

1991

Kick-starting renewables New legislation introduces feed-in tariffs for renewable power

 

1997/2005

Kyoto Protocol New agreement requires Germany – the world’s sixth largest emitter at the time – to cut CO2 emissions

 

2000

Renewable Energy Act The Renewable Energy Act (EEG) stipulates fixed feed-in tariffs and grid priority for renewables

Nuclear phase-out #1 Red-Green government reaches “nuclear consensus” with utilities: a phase-out by around 2022

 

2007

EU targets EU sets 2020 climate targets: 20 percent of electricity to come from renewables; a 20 percent cut in greenhouse gases; 20 percent more efficiency

 

2010

Extending nuclear The CDU (conservative) government reverses the “nuclear consensus” by cancelling the phase-out

Energy concept The government sets out climate and renewables targets for 2020 and 2050

 

2011

Nuclear phase-out #2 Following the Fukushima disaster, Merkel announces new nuclear phase out by 2022, with backing of large parliamentary majority

 

2014

New EEG & climate action Government lowers feed-in tariffs, introduces auction system for PV capacity, and presents plan to achieve 2020 climate targets

Climate Action Programme 2020Government introduces catalogue of measures to reach climate targets

 

2015

Slow progress The Energiewende monitoring report shows that climate targets are “in serious danger”; 2020 emission reduction target likely to be “missed considerably”

 

2016

Utility spin-offs Utilities E.ON and RWE separate renewables from fossil operations

Decarbonisation Federal government agrees on its Climate Action Plan 2050, a basic framework for largely decarbonising Germany’s economy to reach 2050 climate goals. It includes target corridors for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in individual economic sectors

 

2017

Renewables reform The switch from set feed-in tariffs to auctions for renewables enters into force

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