History of Energiewende
1980 - Coining of the term
The Institute for Applied Ecology publishes the study, "Energy transition - growth and prosperity without oil and uranium", coining the term "Energiewende"additional information
1983 - Solar power plant
Construction of the world's largest solar power plant on Pellworm, at 300 kilowatts of capacityadditional information
1986 - Chernobyl
In Chernobyl, the reactor core of block 4 explodes after an unauthorised experiment. Vast areas of land are permanently contaminated with radioactivity, while particles are carried by wind over large parts of Europe.
Photo: dpaadditional information
1990 - Climate protection
The German government's first climate protection programme
1991 - State support for renewables
The electricity feed-in law comes into force: The then-vertically integrated electricity suppliers are required to purchase renewable power: Power from wind and solar systems are remunerated with at least 90% of the price of electricity, and hydropower with at least 75%. In addition, the feed-in privilege is introduced. The law was introduced in parliament in 1990 by a cross-party group of MPs.additional information
1992 - Framework Convention on Climate Change
"Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro resulting in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Changeadditional information
1996 - Electricity market
EU Directive on the internal electricity market, liberalising the European electricity markets. Incorporated into German law in 1998.
Photo: Waltraud Grubitzsch, dpaadditional information
1997 - Kyoto Protocol
By 2012, industrialised countries should cut CO2 emissions by an average of 5.2% over 1990 levels. Germany sets its own target of 21% by 2012.
Photo: dpaadditional information
1999 - Solar promotion
100,000-roofs programme based on the Japanese model: Discounted loans for investors in solar power systemsadditional information
2000 - EEG 1.0: First renewable energy law
The Renewable Energy Act (EEG) succeeds the electricity feed-in law. In contrast, it provides for fixed tariffs that are no longer linked to the power price, as well as a 20-year guaranteed payment. Supported by parliamentarians across all political parties and by environmental groups, the Evangelical Church, the Farmers' Association and the IG Metall metalworkers association.additional information
2000 - Nuclear exit
German government agrees with nuclear power plant operators to exit nuclear power by the mid-2020s.
Photo: dpaadditional information
2001 - EU Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources
2002 - The German government's sustainability strategy
By 2050, half of all energy consumption should supplied by renewable energy.additional information
Nov 2003 - Nuclear plant shutdown
The Stade nuclear power plant is the first German plant to leave the grid
Photo: picture-alliance / dpa
2004 - 2004 EEG
The reform provides for a greater differentiation of feed-in tariffs depending on the technology. The feed-in tariff will also decrease annually and stimulate competition for the cheapest technologies.additional information
2005 - Nuclear plant shutdown
Shutdown of the Obrigheim nuclear power plant.additional information
2005 - Offshore wind
Establishment of the Offshore Foundation to advance the construction of offshore wind parks.
Photo: Ingo Wagner, dpaadditional information
2005 - European emissions trading
The European Union launches the first binding and cross-border market for CO2 emissions.additional information
2005 - Liberalisation of the electricity network
German Energy Act reform. This regulates the Federal Network Agency and access to the grid. Electricity generation and networks must be separated commercially ("unbundling").
Photo: Frank May, dpaadditional information
2007 - 20/20/20 - 2020
The European Union agrees to three 2020 climate targets: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% from 1990 levels, boosting the share of renewable energy in final consumption to 20% and increasing energy efficiency by 20%.
Photo: Guillaume Le Bloas - Fotoliaadditional information
2007 - Privileging of energy-intensive industry
The EEG surcharge is limited to 0.05 cents/kWh for electicity-intensive companies.
Photo: Oleksiy Mark - Fotolia
2007 - Federal programme
The German government's integrated climate and energy programme with 29 key points, with emphasis on "increasing energy efficiency" and "expansion of renewable energy". Greenhouse gas emissions should be 40% below 1990 levels by 2020.
Photo: Julian Stratenschulte, dpaadditional information
2009 - Network expansion
The Bundestag passes the Power Grid Expansion Act (EnLAG) with 24 projects for expanding the transmission network to a total power line length of about 1,800 kilometers.
Photo: Carsten Rehder, dpaadditional information
2009 - World Climate Conference
The World Climate Conference in Copenhagen formulates the goal of limiting global warming to 2° C above pre-industrial levels, but lacks concrete commitments from individual countries to achieve this.
Photo: iisd.caadditional information
2009 - EU: Extensive decarbonisation by 2050
EU heads of state agree to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80-90% by 2050.additional information
2009 - National climate goals
The German government confirms its goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2020 compared to 1990, and recognises the need to reduce them at least 80% by 2050.
2009 - First offshore wind park
Commissioning of the first offshore wind farm "Alpha Ventus" in the North Sea. 12 plants will have a total capacity of 60 MW.
Photo: dpaadditional information
2009 - EEG reform
The degression of the feed-in tariff for solar power is increased from 5% to 8-10%. Own-consumption of solar power is subsidised separately. The tariff for geothermal power is raised to 16-27 cents/kWh.additional information
28.10.2010 - Reversal of the nuclear phase-out
In its energy concept, the German government reaffirms its 2020 climate target (emissions 40% below 1990), and sets the goal of reducing emissions 80- 95% by 2050 (intermediate targets: -55% by 2030, -70% by 2040). At the same time, it revokes the nuclear phase-out of 2000 and extends nuclear plant operations by 8-14 years. Renewable energy is described as the future mainstay of the power supply.
Photo: picture alliance / dpaadditional information
11.03.2011 - Fukushima nuclear disaster
Northeast Japan experiences the strongest earthquake in Japanese history (magnitude 9). This leads to severe destruction and triggers a tsunami that devastates coastal areas with 14 foot waves. More than 18,000 people die. In addition, the nuclear power complex Fukushima-Daichi is severely damaged by the quake and flooding. This leads to a serious accident and subsequent meltdown of reactor cores. Several explosions release large volumes of radioactive material into the air. The area around the nuclear power plant is contaminated.
Photo: ABACAPRESS.COMadditional information
14.03.11 -Nuclear phase-out II
The German government imposes a three-month moratorium on Germany's seven oldest nuclear power plants and the Krümmel plant. A week later, it establishes the "Ethics Commission for a Secure Energy Supply".additional information
30.06.2011 - Govt resolutions on energy transition
The "Ethics Commission for a Secure Energy Supply" submits its final report and recommends a nuclear power exit. Parliament accepts the recommendations with an 85?% majority on 30 June. The shift to renewable energy based on the energy concept is reinforced, and the energy transition afffirmed.additional information
2012 - EEG 2012
Renewable energy producers are introduced to a market-based system through an optional market premium. Due to the sharp drop in solar costs and the rapid expansion of PV installations, tariffs for solar power are significantly reduced and the maximum capacity for new solar power plants is limited to 10 MW and capped at total of 52 GW nationwide.additional information
2012 - EnBW to become renewable
EnBW is restructured. By 2020, renewable energy will comprise 40% of its energy mix – a 28% increase in eight years.
2012 - Vattenfall must become climate-friendly
The Swedish government tells Vattenfall to focus more on renewable energy and less on nuclear and coal power, a part of a goal to reduce CO2 emissions by one third by 2020.
2013 - Network expansion after 2020
The Federal Requirement Plan Act, which regulates the grid extension beyond 2020, comes into force. It includes 36 projects with approximately 2,800 km of new cable routes and 2,900 kilometers of reinforcement of existing lines, including high-voltage direct current transmission lines (HVDC).additional information
2014 - Economics minister takes the helm
Responsibility for renewable energy returns to the economics ministry from the environment ministry after the federal election.
2014 - EEG 2.0
This reform aims to keep the energy transition affordable. This ends the renewable energy technology competition introduced in 2000 : Wind and solar power plants have established themselves as the most favoured suppliers. Annual additional supply of onshore wind and solar plants will be limited to 2.5 GW each (biomass: 100 MW, offshore wind: 800 MW per year, 6.5 GW total by 2020 and 15 GW by 2030). In addition, the EEG 2014 forces the integration of renewables into the electricity market: through an increasing volume of direct sales and through competitive tenders to establish remuneration levels for new plants.additional information
20.03.2015 - Solar eclipse
Fluctuations in capacity from all solar power plants are at the level foreseen in 2030. The current system deals well with this situation.
Photo: Ig0rZh - Fotoliaadditional information
Juni 2015 - Nuclear plant shutdown
The Grafenrheinfeld nuclear power plant (1,345 MW) goes offline, with no impact on the electricity market.additional information
08.06.2015 - G7 agrees decarbonisation goals
G7 heads of state meeting in Elmau, Germany decide to cut global CO2 emissions 60 to 70?% by 205, compared to 2010 and to shift the energy supply of industrialised countries to low-CO2 technologies.additional information
Juni 2015 - Slow progress
Of the 1,876 km of power lines planned in the Power Grid Expansion Act of 2009, 487 km have been completed.
Photo: Gina Sanders - Fotoliaadditional information
Dez 2015 - Solar power for 8 cents
The third tender for ground-mounted solar power systems establishes a surcharge of 8 cents/kWH.
Photo: Jens Büttner, dpaadditional information
Dez 2015 - New federal planning law
New HVDC lines will now mostly be buried. This was decided after citizens protested against new overhead lines.additional information
2015 - E.ON splits up
E.on announced it would split its operations into two companies. The new E.ON will concentrate on renewables. Vattenfall wants to sell its lignite-fired power plants in Germany and is publicly seeking buyers.additional information
2015 - RWE establishes renewables spin-off
RWE announces a restructuring: A new company will bundle its renewables business with electricity networks and distribution.additional information
12.12.2015 - Paris Agreement
The UN Climate Change Conference decides in Paris to limit global warming to well below 2° C by 2050, if possible to 1.5° C. 188 states submit commitments on climate protection measures. Since this would still lead to global warming of 2.7-3.7° C, more ambitious commitments are to be achieved in five years.
Photo: dpaadditional information
2016 - EEG 2016
New rules are set for the annual expansion of renewable energy and tenders are the new standard for determining remuneration levels for onshore wind power.
Photo: David Hense - Fotolia
2016 - Lignite reserve
The first brown coal power plants are transferred into the "security reserve" slated for shut-down after four years. By 2020, this will affect power plants with a total capacity of 2.7 GW.
Photo: Patrick Pleul dpa/lbnadditional information
2016 - EU package
Draft of the European Union's next climate and energy package – including directives on renewable energy, energy efficiency and the power market.
2017 - Digitisation of the power network
Start of the nationwide smart meter roll-out, initially for businesses and owners of renewable energy plants with a capacity of over seven kilowatts.additional information
2017 - Wind auctions
The first round of tenders for the remuneration of onshore wind turbines to take place.
2017 - Nuclear phase-out
Shutdown of nuclear power plant Gundremmingen B
2019 - Nuclear phase-out
Shutdown of nuclear power plant Philippsburg 2
2020 - Successor to the Paris Agreement
World Climate Conference (Paris + 5) to ratchet up national climate protection commitments, in order to clearly limit global warming to below 2° C, as agreed at the Paris Climate Conference.
2021 - Nuclear phase-out
Shutdown of nuclear power plants Grohnde, Brokdorf and Gundremmingen C
2022 - Nuclear phase-out
Shutdown of nuclear power plants Isar 2, Emsland and Neckarwestheim 2
2023 - Cost peak
From now on, the energy transition will become cheaper as power from offshore wind plants installed around 2015 is no longer compensated at the higher start-up tariff levels. Later, costs will sink further because the expensive solar power systems installed at beginning of the century will no longer be covered by the EEG .