The Energiewende, Germany’s energy transition, has drawn a lot of international attention, mostly for the wrong reasons. Observers either often portray Germany as a leader in deploying renewables or as being on a lunatic track to shut down nuclear power (or perhaps even to switch to coal). However, many other countries are shutting nuclear and moving faster towards renewables.

What makes the German story so unique is that its citizens drive the Energiewende. Along with Denmark, Germany may be the only country in the world where this transition is being primarily driven not by corporate power, but by ordinary people. My co-author Craig Morris and I describe the history of the German energy transition in Energy Democracy: Germany’s Energiewende to Renewables. An energy transition in the hands of citizens offers a great opportunity to involve stakeholders, to strengthen communities and to democratize the energy supply.