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Karoline Steinbacher


Exporting the Energiewende? Transfer and Diffusion of the German model of sustainable energy regulation

Betreuer / supervisor:

Prof. Dr. Miranda Schreurs



The German Energiewende with its ambitious threefold aim of decarbonising the energy sector, reducing primary energy consumption and phasing out nuclear power is today mainly discussed from a national perspective. At the same time, countries worldwide are considering own energy transitions. Empirical research on the “external governance“ of the Energiewende by Germany and on the use of the Energiewende example in energy policy debates and decisions in other countries is however still missing. The present PhD project aims to contribute to closing this gap.
The project enquires whether lessons are drawn from the German experience by decision-makers in countries engaging in energy transitions, what elements of the Energiewende are considered and why. Strong emphasis is put on the role and impact of active German leadership and policy promotion by German transfer actors.
The perspectives of Germany as a pioneer and of three potential followers - Morocco, South Africa, and California - are given equal consideration. The selected cases cover a variety of potential channels of transfer between Germany and followers, from institutionalised energy partnerships to informal dialogue. The heterogeneity of cases selected provides opportunities to assess the role of Germany’s energy transition as a potential source of inspiration in a variety of contexts and on a global scale, challenging the ambitions for leadership repeatedly voiced by decision-makers in Germany.
Drawing upon more than one hundred and seventy semi-structured interviews, carried out in the framework of field research in Morocco, South Africa and California, document analysis, ranking exercises and participant observation, the role of the German example in energy policy debates and decisions is traced.
A better understanding of energy policy transfer and of leadership as a factor therein can enable the spread of frameworks for sustainable energy and can eventually be used in the design of strategies to facilitate transitions worldwide.


Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft (SDW)

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