© 2016

Germany's Energy Transition

A Comparative Perspective

  • Carol Hager
  • Christoph H. Stefes


  • Offers the first comprehensive analysis of Germany's path-breaking transition from nuclear to renewable energy

  • Elaborates on the international comparison of energy transitions

  • Provides readers with an up-to-date and comprehensive review of the challenges and the potential of a sustainable energy future


Table of contents

About this book


This book analyzes Germany's path-breaking Energiewende, the country's transition from an energy system based on fossil and nuclear fuels to a sustainable energy system based on renewables. The authors explain Germany's commitment to a renewable energy transition on multiple levels of governance, from the local to the European, focusing on the sources of institutional change that made the transition possible. They then place the German case in international context through comparative case studies of energy transitions in the USA, China, and Japan. These chapters highlight the multifaceted challenges, and the enormous potential, in different paths to a sustainable energy future. Taken together, they tell the story of one of the most important political, economic, and social undertakings of our time.


Energy Transition Renewable Energy Energiewende Energy Policy Historical Institutionalism German Politics comparative politics energy policy environment Europe governance Policy political science politics

Editors and affiliations

  • Carol Hager
    • 1
  • Christoph H. Stefes
    • 2
  1. 1.Bryn Mawr CollegeBryn MawrUSA
  2. 2.University of Colorado DenverDenverUSA

About the editors

Carol Hager is Professor of Political Science on the Clowes Professorship in Science & Public Policy at Bryn Mawr College, USA. She is author of Technological Democracy: Bureaucracy and Citizenry in the German Energy Debate (Michigan 1995) and co-editor of NIMBY is Beautiful: Cases of Local Activism and Environmental Innovation Around the World (Berghahn 2015).

Christoph H. Stefes is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Colorado Denver, USA. He is author of Understanding Post-Soviet Transitions (Palgrave 2006) and several articles on energy transitions (German Politics, Energy Policy, Journal of Public Policy).

Bibliographic information


“Germany’s Energy Transition will surely become required reading for anyone questioning how nations can achieve their ambitious commitments to decarbonize their economies after the 2015 Paris Accords. The lessons learned from the world’s leading national energy transition underway today, and the like prospects for transitions in the U.S., Japan, and China, are cogently presented. The book is unusually accessible to the informed lay audience, while equally valuable to students of comparative politics and energy policy.” (Dan Mazmanian, Professor of Public Policy, University of Southern California, USA)

“A tour de force written by some of the world's top energy transition experts. With its global perspective, the book puts Germany's efforts into an international context, offering crucial insights even to already knowledgeable readers. There's something interesting here for everyone.” (Craig Morris, Director, Petite Planète, Germany)

“Controversial and often misunderstood, the Energiewende harbors a compelling vision: that even a heavily industrialized economy like Germany can thrive without relying on fossil fuels and nuclear power for its energy needs. This book sheds light on the complex societal consensus underlying the energy transition, and highlights the conditions of modernization against entrenched interests and path-dependent institutions. Its accessible style and comparative outlook offer valuable insights for all those looking to learn from the German experience.” (Michael Mehling, Executive Director, MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, USA)