Energiewende: "Mess in Germany" - magazine
Germany’s energy transition is faced with many problems, including a lack in power grid capacity, energy storage and high costs, write Frank Dohmen et al. in the cover story of Der Spiegel (behind paywall), one of Germany’s most popular weekly magazines. One of the central mistakes of the energy transition was that the government initiated a phase-out of nuclear energy without also saying goodbye to coal, the authors say. From the beginning there had been two different approaches to the Energiewende that still haven’t been consolidated – by those (mainly the Green Party) who want “radical change” and by those, like economy minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) and his predecessor Sigmar Gabriel (SPD), who are more concerned with the well-being of industry and jobs. As a result, the country is running two energy systems at the same time: fossil-fuel and renewables. But the longer the transition from one to the other takes, the more expensive the energy transition gets, the authors say. As an example of two sectors where Germany’s energy transition lags behind in particular, they list building efficiency (of around 19 million homes in Germany, only 4 million have been insulated or received a more efficient heating system) and the transport sector, where emissions haven’t fallen and the number of private cars is rising.