Paths to a Climate-Neutral Energy System

The German Energy Transition in its Social Context

Philip Sterchele, Julian Brandes, Judith Heilig, Daniel Wrede, Christoph Kost, Thomas Schlegl, Andreas Bett, Hans-Martin Henning
Fraunhofer ISE | February 20th, 2020

The study “Paths to Climate-Neutral Energy System – The German Energy Transition in its Social Context“ examines development paths of the German energy system that lead to a reduction of energy-related CO₂ emissions of between 95 and 100 percent by 2050. The achievement of these climate protection targets in the energy supply based on renewable energy is feasible from a technical and systemic perspective. Societal behavior is shown to be a decisive factor that determines both the course of the energy transformation as well as the overall costs of the energy system reconstruction.

In this study, the researchers examine the course, technical feasibility and the costs of the energy system transformation in the context of various developments in societal behavior and attitudes. To this end they calculated four main scenarios:

  • Persistence scenario (strong resistance to the use of new technologies in the private sector) 
  • Non-acceptance scenario ( strong resistance to the expansion of large insfrastructures)  
  • Sufficiency scenario (changes in societal behavior greatly reduce the energy consumption)
  • Reference scenario  (without implementation of further boundary conditions that promote or impede the achievement of the objectives) 

The energy system model REMod (Regenerative Energy Model) developed at Fraunhofer ISE was used for the simulation and optimization of the scenarios.

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