Dialogue on Industrial Policy and the Energiewende

Smart industrial policy to support the adoption of renewables: A dialog with leading industrial companies

  • Project Duration: 09/2016 - 07/2017

The renewable energy revolution, known in Germany as the Energiewende, offers an opportunity to reorient industrial policy. However, to be successful, this reorientation should be actively shaped by all stakeholders. We face tremendous challenges in the effort to dramatically transform our energy economy. The Energiewende has awakened tremendous hopes and fears among political and business leaders, as economic and industrial policy is sure to undergo significant change. While actors in traditional industries fear rising energy prices and job losses, others have been quick to grasp how German industry could experience a wave of innovation, and they underscore the opportunities that will be created by ambitious climate protection both at home and abroad. Yet regardless of how the future will look, the Energiewende is an important part of German industrial policy today.

We currently lack clear notions concerning how industrial firms – particularly energy-intensive ones – can best profit from the Energiewende. If our industrial policy is to be smart, it must ensure our energy system is both affordable and environmentally friendly, for only then will the Energiewende benefit energy-intensive industrial firms and their employees. Furthermore, industrial firms are not merely passive objects in the Energiewende, but must be viewed instead as active participants in its implementation.

In this project, Agora Energiewende intends to consult with leading industrial firms to identify regulatory policy features that should be adopted in coming years in order to efficiently steer the continued transition to renewables while also ensuring Germany remains competitive as a location for industrial production. In this dialogue process, we thus aim to identify the opportunities and challenges that we face in the area of industrial policy as part of the Energiewende.

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