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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
September 19, 2019

Renewable Energy in Germany and Japan – Prospects for the Citizen Energy Movement

Citizen energy, known as “Bürgerenergie”, forms a major pillar of the transition to renewable energies (RE) in Germany. From as early as the 1990s German citizens pioneered in in solar and wind power or biomass energy projects and invested into RE as individual households, companies or as members within more than 900 energy cooperatives. Similarly, though less known, Japan as well has a long-established vibrant citizen energy movement, also referred to as “community power”. While initially focusing on building RE capacity, a growing number of citizen energy companies ventured into direct marketing of “green energy”.

The shift from a feed-in-tariff (FIT) to a feed-in-premium (FIP) and auction scheme, the institutional framework for grid integration, the deregulation of electricity markets, but also the changing social acceptance of RE and the ecological consciousness among the wider public present major challenges for citizen energy projects and their business models. Highlighting differences in the regulatory environment and public opinion, our speakers will be comparing the development of citizen energy in Germany and Japan. Despite differences, the citizen energy movement in both countries is presently challenged by tighter regulations for RE, growing local resistance to RE projects, and barriers to market integration. At the same time, direct markets for “green energy” are underdeveloped in Japan and, albeit more developed, contribute little to the expansion of renewables in Germany. Eiji Oishi will comment the discussion from a practitioner and business point of view.

Carsten Herbes, Nuertingen-Geislingen University, Germany
Jörg Raupach-Sumiya, Ritsumeikan University, Osaka
Eiji Oishi, Minna Denryoku, Tokyo