Macro economic and distributional effects of the German Energiewende

The aim of the energy transition is to transform the energy system into a climate-friendly system and at the same time to phase out nuclear energy while guaranteeing a more secure, economic and environmentally friendly energy supply. The increase of energy efficiency and the expansion of renewable energy are essential components. While clear and measurable indicators with quantified goals and intermediate targets are defined in the energy concept for the fields of efficiency (annual increase in final energy productivity by 2.1 %), renewable energy (increase to 60 % of gross final energy consumption by 2050) and climate protection (40 % GHG reduction by 2020; at least 80 % to 95 % by 2050), this is not the case for the economic dimension. Measuring the macroeconomic effects of the energy transition therefore is much more difficult from a methodological point of view.
Against this background, a consortium consisting of the Institute of Economic Structures Research (GWS), German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), German Aerospace Center (DLR), Prognos AG and Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (Fraunhofer ISI) has carried out a research project on the macroeconomic and distributional effects of the energy transition on behalf of the BMWi from July 2015 to November 2018. The project is divided into six work packages, summarized at
On the basis of a brief systematization of the effects at the beginning of the project in work package (WP) 1, the concept of national energy accounts has been further developed in WP 2). On the one hand, it covers the macroeconomic costs of energy supply. On the other hand, key parameters such as investment and employment are determined for the comprehensively defined energy sector (so-called gross effects). Reduced energy imports are also assessed.
WP 3 deals with the development of a counterfactual scenario, which describes a world without energy transition for the analysis period 2000 to 2050, and a target scenario in which the goals of the Federal Government are achieved. By comparing the target scenario with the counterfactual world, the net effects of the energy transition are determined both ex post and ex ante in macroeconomic model analyses. In WP 4, the distributional effects of energy policy are further classified by their significance. Issues of personal income distribution and the regional effects of the energy transition are examined in depth. Additional advantages of the energy transition are identified alongside other work steps in WP 5. In WP 6, possible bottlenecks of the energy transition are discussed against the background of the good economic development in Germany.

O'Sullivan, M., Lehr, U. & Edler, D. (2015): Bruttobeschäftigung durch erneuerbare Energien in Deutschland und verringerte fossile Brennstoffimporte durch erneuerbare Energien und Energieeffizienz - Zulieferung für den Monitoringbericht 2015. , Teilstudie zu einem Forschungsvorhaben des Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Energie, Berlin.
Lutz, C. & Breitschopf, B. (2016): Systematisierung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Effekte und Verteilungswirkungen der Energiewende. GWS Research Report 2016/1, Osnabrück.