1. Background information:
Germany is shifting its energy supply from nuclear and fossil sources to renewable resources such as biogas or solar energy. Therefor the supply of renewable energy must be expanded. To achieve the goal, the government of Germany had issued a series of laws which are promoting the energy transformation: Renewable Energy Resource Act or EEG. The law is the most important controls for the expansion of renewable resources for the energy sector. It inured in 2000 and has been reviewed frequently (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie, 2019). Since 2012 the reforms decline the financial support from the government. The cause of the declining was an over-funding thus a rapid rise in costs for the government (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie, 2015).
1.1. Generic information about the conflict:
Since 2014 people protest against EEG reforms again and again everywhere in Germany. For example, on the 22nd of March in 2014 5.000 people in Hannover demonstrated against a new reform. The people were afraid that the reform could slow down the energy transformation. On the same day 3.000 people demonstrated in Düsseldorf because of the same reason (Handelsblatt, 2014). In 2016 there was a demonstration in Berlin. 8.000 people were protesting against the recent amendments. The reason for the demonstration was the opinion of the people that the new reforms were deteriorating the opportunities for local energy suppliers. Small companies were existential endangered due to financial cuts (Rasch, 2016). There were also demonstrations in Munich, Mainz, Wiesbaden, Kiel and Potsdam (Handelsblatt, 2014).
1.2 Conflict type:
It is a generic governance conflict. In addition to this it is a restrained as well as an open conflict. It is an open conflict because the public demonstrations are contained. But it is also a restrained conflict due to local suppliers who are emotionally affected by the reforms. In some cases, the existence of the supplier is threatened. They would lose everything they had built up and invested.
1.3 Resources involved:
The controversial reforms of the EEG effect all kind of renewable resources from biogas to wind power. The main contentious point is the axed financials supports (Handelsblatt, 2014).
2. Evaluation of the conflict
2.1 Main Issues and descriptions:
As mentioned above the main issue is the limited financial support. The governance want to stop the rising cost for the energy transformation. The explanation for cuts was that the cost for building new renewable energy plants decreased because of the great established technologies. A second explanation was the increasing electricity prices, so that the earnings from the energy supplier rose (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie, 2019).
The opinion of the citizens is that the financial support is the main driver of the energy transformation in Germany (Rasch, 2016). The number of new established renewable energy plants confirm this. Since the governance limited the support, the number of new built plants decreased. It is no longer economically viable, mainly for small local companies or citizen initiatives. The investors of renewable energy plants won’t gain from their investments. They will lose them.
Source: Fachverband Biogas (2018): Biogas Market data in Germany 2017/2018. https://www.biogas.org/edcom/webfvb.nsf/id/DE_Branchenzahlen/$file/18-07-05_Biogasindustryfigures-2017-2018_english.pdf
As a consequence, the financial cut will slow down the energy transformation in Germany. The citizens are afraid that the government will cease the entire support for renewable energies (Rasch, 2016). It would be a step backwards in the German environmental policy. Germany is not going to reach the aims of the Paris United Nations Climate Change Conference. Some people have the opinion that the reforms of the EEG go against the aims of the Paris conference (Bund, 2016).
2.2 Main stakeholders involved and their values and interests
There are many different stakeholders involved in this conflict: citizens, who are angry about the slow down and be afraid that German government will stop the energy transformation. They have the feeling, that the government is not doing enough against the climate change. NGO´s such as Greenpeace see the aims of the Paris Climate Change Conference threatened. They organize and call for demonstration such as the demonstration in Berlin 2016 (Rasch, 2016). But there are also energy companies, associations and organizations which invested in renewable energy plants and technologies. They do not want to lose their investments, on the contrary they want to profit from it. They also call for demonstrations. Associations and organizations are for example Association for environment and conservation Germany, Germany`s friends of nature and the campaign network Campact (Handelsblatt, 2014).
On the other side there is the German governance. They caused the conflict while they adopted the renewal of the EEG. The government reformed the set of laws because they hat to stop the over-funding. They had to save expenses, so other sectors could be more supported.
2.3 Evaluation of the intensity of the conflict
The intensity of the conflict is middle. There is a disagreement between the citizens and the German government about the distribution of funding. Until now there was no violence during the demonstrations.
2.4 Evaluation of the possible causes of the conflict
The conflict is caused by wrong calculations and the resulting overfunding of renewable energies. Because of the strong addiction of the renewable energy market to the financial support, the reformations have a strong effect on the energy transformation.
2.5 Main elements that may preclude conflict resolution
The main fact that preclude the resolution is that the government is not going to start investing the same amount of funding again.
2.6 Main elements that may encourage conflict escalation
The conflict could escalate if the German governance completely cut off all financial support for the renewable energy sector. Without funding the energy transformation will stop incomplete.
3. Keywords and identifiers of the conflict
reduction financial support, reforms of laws
Bund, Friends of the Earth Germany (2016): EEG-Reform 2016: Die EEG-Novelle ist ein klarer Verstoß gegen die Beschlüsse des Pariser Weltklimagipfels. avaiable under: https://www.bund.net/energiewende/erneuerbare-energien/eeg-reform/, last access: 15.02.2019.
Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (2015): Markt Analyse Biomasse. available under: https://www.erneuerbare-energien.de/EE/Redaktion/DE/Downloads/bmwi_de/marktanalysen-photovoltaik-biomasse.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=5, last access: 15.02.2019.
Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (2019): Das Erneuerbare-Energie-Gesetz. available under: https://www.erneuerbare-energien.de/EE/Redaktion/DE/Dossier/eeg.html?cms_docId=73930, last access:15.02.2019.
Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (2019): EEG: Daten und Fakten. available under: https://www.erneuerbare-energien.de/EE/Navigation/DE/Recht-Politik/Das_EEG/DatenFakten/daten-und-fakten.html, last access: 15.02.2019.
Fachverband Biogas (2018): Biogas Market data in Germany 2017/2018. available under: https://www.biogas.org/edcom/webfvb.nsf/id/DE_Branchenzahlen/$file/18-07-05_Biogasindustryfigures-2017-2018_english.pdf, last access: 15.02.2019.
Handelsblatt (2014): Tausende gehen für die Energiewende auf die Straße. available under: https://www.handelsblatt.com/politik/deutschland/protest-in-deutschen-grossstaedten-tausende-gehen-fuer-energiewende-auf-die-strasse/9653882.html?ticket=ST-61400-NKt5dZDyTq3El6eleKsH-ap1, last access: 15.02.2019.
Rasch, Christoph (2016): EEG-Demo: 8.000 Menschen protestieren gegen umstrittene Reform. available under: https://blog.greenpeace-energy.de/wissen/buergerenergie/neue-beschluesse-zur-eeg-reform-schaden-kleinen-energiewende-akteuren/, last access: 15.02.2019.