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Renewable electricity generation in Germany: A meta-analysis of mitigation scenarios

Eva Schmid (), Michael Pahle and Brigitte Knopf

Energy Policy, 2013, vol. 61, issue C, 1151-1163

Abstract: German energy policy targets envision a share of electricity from renewable energy sources (RES-E) of at least 80% in 2050. How can the transformation of the German electricity sector be achieved and at what costs? This paper addresses these questions by means of a meta-analysis of 10 recent model-based mitigation scenarios for Germany. It turns out that the scenarios exploit the three basic strategic options of increasing the share of RES-E – domestic RES-E generation, electricity demand reductions, and RES-E imports – to substantially different extents. Domestic RES-E generation increases in all scenarios, particularly from onshore and offshore wind. Scenarios that rely heavily on reducing electricity demand require a relatively low expansion of domestic RES-E generation. Despite detailed technical analyses, insights on the costs of the transformation remain limited. A discussion of underlying scenario assumptions reveals that it is unclear whether (i) RES-E and system integration technology development will be as cost-competitive as postulated, (ii) implicitly assumed institutional requirements will be realized, and (iii) relevant actors in the transformation process will be incentivized accordingly. Therefore, future research should pursue a thorough assessment of strategic options for transforming the German electricity system that consistently integrates technologies, institutions, and actors.

Keywords: Energy strategy; Energy system model; Transformation costs (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.06.105

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