Introduction: The Challenge of Achieving the Energy Transition

  • Jens LowitzschEmail author


Renewable energy (RE) has made considerable progress in the last 25 years. Financing in-vestments in renewable energy sources (RES), however, remains key to achieving the 2030 and 2050 goals of a low carbon economy with increased energy efficiency. Switching energy systems from fossil fuels to RES requires financial, technical and social innovation. A new energy infrastructure must be built and individuals motivated to adopt flexible consumption habits to match demand with the supply of volatile energy sources. In a market historically dominated by large suppliers heavily invested in fossil fuels, citizens investing in RES have become a new category of market participants and an important impetus for meeting this challenge. This raises the question of whether consumer ownership in RES is a transitory phenomenon or a necessary condition for transforming energy systems from fossil to re-newable sources, in short, the energy transition. If a necessary condition, then how do we go about broadening participation? Is consumer ownership of RE production facilities merely politically desirable to satisfy expectations of participation arising from a concern for distrib-utive justice or simply from expediency, that is, to make infrastructure projects publicly ac-ceptable? Or do sound economic arguments exist for broad public ownership in RES, argu-ments related to the structural differences between renewables and fossils on which the success of the Energy Transition depends? In the light of these questions this chapter gives an overview of the issues at stake, introduces the topics discussed in the book and suggests ideas for advancing the energy transition.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European University ViadrinaFrankfurt (Oder)Germany

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