Driven by a long-term policy that dates back decades, Germany is spearheading a transition to a renewable energy-based economy. Yet the Energiewende
(energy transition) is not as exceptional as most take it for; other countries are actually transitioning faster to renewables. Nevertheless, it is remarkable in a way that is often overlooked: Germany is perhaps the only country in the world where the switch to renewables is a switch to energy democracy.
Arne Jungjohann, author and political scientist, will discuss the origins of the Energiewende
movement in Germany from the Power Rebels of Schönau to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s shutdown of eight nuclear power plants following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. He will provide insights into how Germans convinced their politicians to pass laws allowing citizens to make their own energy, even though it hurt utility companies to do so. Individually, citizens might install solar panels on their roofs, but citizen groups can do much more: community wind farms, local heat supply, walkable cities and more. Jungjohann will offer evidence that the transition to renewables is a one-time opportunity to strengthen communities and democratize the energy sector – in Germany and around the world.
is an author, consultant and political scientist. He served as a strategic advisor for the Minister President of Baden-Württemberg and in the German parliament. He fostered transatlantic dialogue on climate and energy matters for the Washington DC office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation. His new book Energy Democracy: Germany's Energiewende to Renewables
was published in August 2016.
In conversation with Anya Schoolman
, who will lend an American perspective to the concept of energy democracy. Schoolman is the founder and Executive Director of Community Power Network, a national nonprofit that helps communities build and promote local renewable energy projects and policies. She has been instrumental in forming the city-wide organization DC Solar United Neighborhoods, which works to make solar accessible and affordable to all Washington DC residents.
Moderated by Nora Loehle
(Program Director, Energy and Environment, Heinrich Boell Foundation).
Organized in cooperation with the Heinrich Boell Foundation and Beyond Nuclear. This event is supported by the German Embassy in Washington DC and the Transatlantic Climate Bridge.