In energy, politics could just as easily push
in a different direction.
Take the case of the UK
and Germany. Both have experienced strong
renewables growth as a proportion of the power
mix with penetration rising by around ten
Yet whereas in the UK the
rise in the share of renewables – combined with
the more aggressive taxation of carbon – has
reduced coal’s overall role, in Germany it is gas
that has proven more vulnerable.
Undoubtedly the elevated price of gas
relative to coal across much of this period has
played a part. However, the politics of coal – for
employment and as an indigenous energy source
– are also in the way.
With over 30,000 miners in
Germany, many in marginal electoral regions,
against just 3,000 in the UK, and a dependence
on Russia as its primary source of gas supply,
German politicians have harder economic
choices to make than their British counterparts.