Renewables, Energy Efficiency and Natural Gas: No Easy Partnership – The Example of Germany
The German Energiewende of 2010 amended in 2011 by nuclear phase out by 2022 aimed at a reduction of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by 80 – 95% by 2050 with clearly defined decennial interim targets. The target by 2020 is reducing GHG emissions by 40% compared to 1990, a share of renewables of at least 35% of gross electricity production and of at least 18% of gross primary energy supply. The role of fossil fuels was regarded as a residual left to the functioning of markets and of the EU emission trading regime. The key research questions to be addressed by this paper are: Can natural gas play a role in the ambitious de-carbonization strategy implied by COP 21 and how? What lessons does the implementation of the Energiewende offer so far?