Dr. Patrick Graichen is the Director of Agora Energiewende, a think tank and policy laboratory based in Berlin that develops scientifically based and politically feasible approaches for ensuring the success of the German energy transition. Previously, Dr. Graichen served at the Federal Ministry for Environment and was the Head of the Unit for Energy and Climate Change Policy, where he was in charge of negotiating the design of the economic instruments of the Kyoto Protocol, the Integrated Energy and Climate Programme of the Federal Government (2007), the EU’s Climate and Energy Package (2008), as well as the legislative procedures in the area of the energy law. He has studied economics and political science, and holds a Ph.D. in municipal energy policy at the Interdisciplinary Institute for Environmental Economics, University of Heidelberg.
Germany gets a lot of criticism for its Energiewende (energy transition). For not phasing out coal quickly enough. For paying “too much” for solar early in the worldwide solar boom they helped create. Why are they phasing out nuclear at a time when the rest of the world is trying to maintain their existing nuclear capacity because it’s carbon-free? For having the highest electricity prices in Europe. Surely these are all signs that its energy transition has been a failure, right?
To the contrary: Germany’s energy transition is proceeding along on plan and on schedule; they plan to phase out their coal entirely in just four years; and they plan to run their entire grid on renewables. Germans’ energy bills are about on par with those of Americans, and the transition enjoys widespread popular support. Our guest in this episode directs a think tank in Berlin that aims to make the Energiewende a success, and explains why the critics are wrong.