The German Energiewende (“energy transition”) is often credited with being the most ambitious renewable energy transition in the world. Germany’s rapid transition is mainly led by their Renewable Energy Act of 2000, which has been amended several times in order to remain relevant during changing conditions. In contrast, the United States’ energy transition seems stagnant and lacks an overall direction from the Federal Government. Despite this, the United States is making progress towards implementing renewable energy technologies due to the efforts of several states. Germany’s transition has experienced a number of challenges along the way, while the United States’ transition has benefited from the first-mover knowledge of Germany. This project will evaluate the two energy transitions using simple and complex indicators and determine which approach has been most effective: Germany’s centralized approach or the United States’ decentralized approach. It will then determine if either approach is sustainable. This project determined that Germany’s centralized approach appears more effective. Additionally, results of a System Improvement Process (SIP) analysis shows that renewable energy cannot be developed sustainably at this time due to a number of barriers.
Recommended CitationGreenway, Sarah, "Comparing German and US Energy Transitions: Centralized vs. Decentralized Government Approaches" (2018). Honors Projects in Science and Technology. Paper 22.