Germany's Energiewende is behind schedule

Germany’s energy transition to green, renewable sources has run into trouble, according to a recent report from McKinsey.

Germany is off track regarding many areas of its famed energy transition, with several indicators either “unrealistic” or at risk, consultancy firm McKinsey found in its biannual “Energy Transition Index”. The outlook for the transport sector improved slightly with nearly 2 million electric cars on the country’s roads in April - but the figure should be more than double that if the country is to achieve its 15-million target by 2030. Renewable energy in the heating and cooling sectors also increased in 2022 but still by too little to achieve climate ambitions. Greenhouse gas emissions fell by 14 megatons (Mt) of CO2 equivalents in 2022 on the previous year, but McKinsey emphasised that they are not dropping quickly enough and need to fall by 44 Mt per year.

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As noted in other threads, since shutting down the last of its nuclear power plants, Germany is now a net importer of electricity. The country has also reduced output from its coal-fired power plants in recent months. For instance, during the month of August, Germany imported about 14% of its electricity.

Going from a net exporter of electricity to a net importer is one way to reduce CO2 emissions inside Germany, I suppose. But if they are importing power generated from coal or natural gas combustion, is it really a reduction in emissions?

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In other news, the German ministry for economic affairs and climate action (BMWK) is examining if brown coal power plants need to be reactivated in preparation for the coming winter.

  • Pete

I wonder why you hate and continually pick on Germany for not meeting clean energy goals. There are many other countries that are doing much worse. Here is a list of countries that should get more attention than Germany.

Most polluted countries in the world: 2022 ranking

South Korea
Saudi Arabia


The goals were unrealistic and reality caught up with Germany. Germany relying on Russian gas was absurd. Germany shutting down nuclear was premature.

The people you should be questioning are the people who made these decisions.

The Captain


LOL! You can say the same about USA, China, India, Japan, etc.


I’ve been saying it all along and for it I’m called a Climate Denier.

Chickens coming home to roost!

The Captain


The countries of the world have made progress reducing fossil fuels consumption. The Russian invasion of Ukraine upset the plans of most countries. Picking on Germany not meeting climate goals is total nonsense.


I do not hate Germany.
Germany has the largest economy in Europe. It is considered a key player in making the EU system successful.

Secondly, I think it is important for people to understand the shortcomings of the Energiewende program. The “energy transition” has long been held up as the model that other nations should be following to a low carbon future. In truth, Germany is still heavily reliant on coal and natural gas, because the intermittent renewables need to have dispatchable, reliable back ups. Shutting down the nuclear plants certainly didn’t help to decarbonize Germany.

Below is what climatologist Hans-Otto Pörtner said about Germany’s energy policies back in 2015, just before the Paris COP21 conference.

Q: What is Germany’s role in the negotiations?
A: Germany, with its strong economy, has an important role to play in the moderation of the talks. The country must also present its climate protection efforts as a model, without playing the know-it-all. But Germany can show that the transformation model works.

That quote sounds pretty arrogant to me, as if they had already accomplished a carbon free system in 2015. Later in the interview, Pörtner does point to some problems with the energy transition.

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Below is something from McKinsey’s website:

“For a long time, Germany was a pioneer in climate protection and perceived as a global role model for a successful energy transition. As early as in 2000, Germany implemented the Renewable Energy Sources Act, which supported the large-scale buildup of renewables under an expensive feed-in tariff scheme. As a result, installed solar-photovoltaic (PV) and wind capacities have soared from 6.2 gigawatts to 83.8 gigawatts between 2000 and 2015.”

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Again, Germany was described as a “global role model” for other nations. In my opinion, France is a much better role model in the electricity sector, since it’s carbon emissions per kilowatt-hour are far below Germany. Also, Germany has some of the most expensive retail electricity in the EU. But they still need to burn lots of coal, lignite, and are trying to get more natural gas from elsewhere. Not a good role model, in my opinion.

  • Pete

Is this true? How much was the reduction, and from what level to what level?

This piece, and it’s chart, seems to show that the only reduction was a blip due to COVID, but the world is back to increasing fossil fuel use.


Your graph is not readable for the last 10 years of global consumption of fossil fuels. If you make the graph show you only the last 10 years you will see that coal and oil have not reached new highs and natural gas has only slightly increased. That shows there is progress. In previous decades you see that fossil fuels are increasing.


You are a climate denier.


France is not the role model for the world for many reasons:

  1. Nuclear is totally subsidized by the French government.

  2. France is now realizing that wind and solar are much cheaper and faster to build than nuclear. So France is now on a break neck speed trying to catch up to UK and German success with wind and solar.

  3. German retail electricity prices are not an indication that renewables are expensive. The low cost of wholesale prices of electricity in Germany is highly taxed which makes the retail electricity prices high compared to France. French retail electricity prices are subsidized by the French government.

  4. The French are concerned that if they taxed their nuclear plants the way Germany taxes their electricity generators, then the people would revolt against nuclear power.

  5. WRT carbon emissions Germany is still building its renewable power generation. Currently they need some natural gas and coal fired power to bridge the transition from fossil to clean electricity. That has always been in the energy transition plan. Judging Germany’s emissions before they complete their transition is naive.

  6. List item


This is the hottest year on record since 120,000 years ago. Of course there was no human civilization 120,000 years ago. The poles were devoid of ice. The oceans were higher.

Then how does one know that this true? Who had the thermometer back then if there were no humans around?


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There are a variety of ways to estimate temperature going back thousands of years. The gold standard is frozen ice drilled out of an old glacier. Frozen air bubbles are also found, so direct measurement is possible.


How does one know that isn’t true?

Just messing