Our most important findings

Key Questions

  1. 1

    From 2019, a “Lusatia Structural Change Fund” should be established within Germany’s federal budget.

    The aim of the fund would be to strengthen the region’s economic attractiveness and its desirability as a place to live. It should help to: preserve the region’s industrial character, strengthen innovation among its businesses, support its academic institutions, equip it with an up-to-date transport network and digital infrastructure, and foster a lively civil society that retains local residents while also attracting new ones.

  2. 2

    The Lusatia Fund should be endowed with 100 million euros per year for 15 years, to be divided equally between four key pillars: business development, academia, infrastructure, and civil society.

    In each of these areas, it should be possible to use the available funds in a flexible manner (i.e. to shift funding between areas), and funds that are not withdrawn should not expire (i.e. funding should be transferable to subsequent years).

  3. 3

    Regional stakeholders from the spheres of business, academia, politics, and civil society should play a key role in awarding of funds.

    The federal government should only play a monitoring and coordinating role, as part of a steering committee; decisions on funding priorities should be made by stakeholders from the region.

  4. 4

    The funds assigned to the civil society pillar should be administered by a new “Lusatia Future Foundation.”

    Raising the attractiveness of a region means more than just promoting its economy, academic institutions and infrastructure. Ultimately, the vibrancy of a place depends on art, culture, lived traditions and the quality of civil society. These factors require ongoing support, which can be guaranteed in the short term through the Structural Change Fund and in the long term through developing a foundation with a strong endowment.

From study : A Future for Lusatia
  1. 1

    The German Energiewende is here to stay. Started in the 1990s, it is a long-term energy and climate strategy reaching as far forward as 2050.

    It enjoys broad public support and is driven by four main political objectives: combatting climate change, avoiding nuclear risks, improving energy security, and guaranteeing competitiveness and growth.

  2. 2

    Wind energy and solar PV are the backbone of the German Energiewende and flexibility is the new paradigm of the power sector.

    Wind and solar energy are now cost-competitive with conventional energy sources for new investments. These technologies, however, impact power systems, making increased system flexibility crucial. Fossil power plants currently deliver the needed flexibility; increasingly other options (demand side management, storage,… ) will become more important.

  3. 3

    The Energiewende requires a structural change in the German energy sector, bringing new challenges and opportunities.

    Given the transformative nature of the Energiewende, investment, growth, and employment are shifting towards new low-carbon sectors. Renewable energy and energy efficiency are providing several hundred thousand jobs, while jobs in the nuclear and coal sectors are declining. A broad consensus on the phasing out of coal is needed to accompany this restructuring process.

  4. 4

    The transformation of the power systems toward renewable energy is not only taking place in Germany but worldwide.

    In 2014, for the third year running, worldwide investment in new renewable capacity exceeded investment in fossil-fuel power. Many other countries in Europe and beyond have set ambitious renewable energy targets. The challenges faced by Germany are therefore a preview of what is likely to occur in several other countries in the medium to long-term.

From study : Understanding the Energiewende
  1. 1

    The Foundation

    Principle 1: Convening a ‘Round Table for a National Consensus on Coal’

    Principle 2: Incremental, legally binding phase-out of coal power by 2040

  2. 2

    The Coal Phase-Out in Germany’s Power Plant Fleet

    Principle 3: No new construction of coal-fired power plants

    Principle 4: Determine a cost-efficient decommissioning plan for existing coal power plants based on remaining plant lifespans, including flexibility options in lignite mining regions

    Principle 5: No additional national climate policy regulations for coal-fired power plants beyond the phase-out plan

  3. 3

    The Coal Phase-Out in Lignite Mining Regions

    Principle 6: No additional lignite mines and no further relocation processes of affected communities

    Principle 7: The follow-up costs of lignite mining should be financed with a special levy on lignite

    Principle 8: Creation of ‘Structural Change Fund’ to ensure a sound financial basis for structural change in affected regions

  4. 4

    Economic and Social Aspects of the Coal Phase-Out

    Principle 9: Ensuring security of supply over the entire transformation period

    Principle 10: Strengthening EU Emissions Trading and the prompt retirement of CO? certificates set free by the coal phase-out

    Principle 11: Ensuring the economic competitiveness of energy-intensive companies and the Germany economy as a whole during the transformation process

  1. 1

    Germany is currently facing an Energiewende paradox: Despite an increasing share of renewable energy sources, its greenhouse gas emissions are rising.

    The reason for this paradox is not to be found in thedecision to phase out nuclear power – the decrease of nuclear generation is fully offset by an increasedgeneration from renewables. Rather, the paradox is caused by a fuel switch from gas to coal.

  2. 2

    Due to current market conditions, German coal-fired power plants are pushing gas plants out of the market – both within Germany and in neighbouring countries.

    Since 2010, coal and CO2 prices have decreased, whilegas prices have increased. Accordingly, Germany’s coal-fired power plants (both new and old) are able to produceat lower costs than gas-fired power plants in Germany and in the neighbouring electricity markets thatare coupled with the German market. This has yielded record export levels and rising emissions in Germany.

  3. 3

    If Germany is to reach its Energiewende targets, the share of coal in the German power sector has to decrease drastically – from 45 percent today to 19 percent in 2030.

    Sharp decreases in generation fromlignite and hard coal of 62 and 80 percent, respectively, are expected in the next 15 years while theshare of gas in electricity generation will have to increase from 11 to 22 percent. This goes in line with thegovernments’ renewables and climate targets for 2030.

  4. 4

    Germany needs a coherent strategy to transform its coal sector.

    Such a strategy – call it a coal consensus –would bring power producers, labour unions, the government and environmental groups together in findingways to manage the transformation.

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