Learning from the energy transition in
four OECD Countries
Germany, Italy, Japan, Switzerland
Dr Fulcieri Maltini
Dr Jean-Roger Mercier
November 2012
• Germany, Italy, Japan and Switzerland are
currently implementing an energy transition
away from nuclear power and giving priority
to energy conservation and renewables,
• Motivations behind these transitions vary and
so do their pace, costs and fundings,
• This presentation tries to distill lessons from
these transitions that can apply to Europe and
Germany - background
• Historically, a divided country after WW2
reuniting in 1990 and requiring high power
supply for its reunification and industrial
development: 4,140 TWh/year in 1990
• Politically, a strong surge of the Green party (« die
Grünen ») that makes, from the onset, nuclear
phasing-out as one of its key targets
• A strong energy efficiency policy has allowed a
10% power demand reduction, with only 3,715
TWh consumed in 2011
Germany - Strategy
• In 2000, the socialist-green coalition puts a
moratorium on nuclear power in the country
• The decision is reversed by the Merkel
Government in 2010, at a time when nuclear
produces 11% of Germany’s primary energy
• And in 2011, the political decision comes to
phase out nuclear entirely with several
potential deadlines,
Germany – the plan(s)
• Energiewende (energy transition) becomes a
household name and the world looks at
Germany for guidance and enlightment
• March of 2011: 8 nuclear plants are closed
• Summer of 2011: the legal package adopted
projects the end of nuclear generation by
• Many challenges have been identified
Germany – objectives for 2050
• Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission reduction: 80
to 95% (ref. 1990)
• Renewables in the overall energy balance 60%
• Ditto in gross power production 80%
• Primary energy production (ref 2008) - 50%
• Electric power consumption (ditto) - 25%
Germany 2050 – Renewables
• Lion’s share to wind
170 TWh (113
• Biomass and photovoltaics 40 TWh each
• Hydro: stable at 24 TWh
In all, 80% of domestic power production, and
needing creative network management to
compensate for volatility
Another huge challenge: extending the
transmission grid at a pace of 470 km/year vs 35
at present.
Opportunities and euros
• The decentralized management of the country
opens up great local opportunies and several
« cantons » are already generating more
energy than they consume (« positive
energy »)
• DIW’s prognosis: up to 800 billion € to spend
over the coming 50 years. Increases of
consumer prices have begun and are
confronted with criticism and protests.
Italy - Background
• End of WW2: Italy relies almost exclusively on
hydro (88% of power generation)
• 1990: thermal power has taken over the lead
(63%), with hydro down to 16% and electricty
imports making up for the rest (12%)
• After a brief attempt to develop nuclear, the
Italian people, in a 1990 referendum following
Chernobyl, reject further nuclear power
Italy – the historic referendum
• Under the pressure of the French, the
Berlusconi government embarks on a new
referendum in 2011, hoping to reintroduce
• Over 90% of the voters reject nuclear again
and the Italian government moves forward
• Targets of 17% renewables by 2020, inferior to
the European average, are set
Italy – Local Power
• After the referendum, municipalities and
regions are encouraged to develop their own
power generation/conservation programs
• By2012, over 400,000 local power generation
units of various dimensions were operational
across the country and over 95%
municipalities, large cities as well as small
villages, were equipped with multiple sources
of energy mix
Italy – Renewable present
• Growth in the number of municipalities equipped
with renewable energy generation is spectacular:
from 3,190 in 2008 to 7,986 in 2011,
• As a result, Italy comes second in Europe for solar
power generation (12,750 MW vs 24,700 for
• Energy mixes are adapted to local resource
availability (solar, wind, biomass, geothermal,
Italy – the pionneer
• Large solar thermal power generation plants are
also being installed and run: 30 MW in Sicily in
operation, more planned in this range
• Wind farms are multiplying and Italy is third
produced behind Germany and Spain
• Biomass use is maximized with various substrates
and processes: e.g. fermentation of wine
production by-products, biogas distribution in
local natural gas grids, biogas in vehicles, ….
Italy – more good news
• Energy efficiency and conservation are highly
• Smart grids and smart meters (over 30 million
units sold and installed) complement the
• As of 2012, 23 municipalities were selling more
energy than they were producing
• Energy storage is diversified and is putting Italy at
the forefront of this critical element of
Italy – Towards 2020 - Objectives
• Primary energy demand - 4% (reference 2010).
• Stable power demand
• Renewables 20% of final energy demand and 38%
superior of gas’s
• The required 180 billion € investment to be
allocated at 72% for renewables and remaining 28
% for conventional sectors (extraction, oil & gas
production and transportation, GNL regazeification
and thermal power plant construction)
Japan – Recovering from the trauma
• The third largest power consumer in the world,
Japan started, in the late 40’s with a simple
energy mix: coal 50%, hydro 33%.
• In the early 70’s, nuclear comes into the picture
and is hailed as a miracle source for an oil
• Nuclear share in power production grew from 4%
in 1973 to 24% in 2009 in spite of activists’
protest, overheated after each nuclear accident
(TMI, Chernobyl)
The Fukushima turning point
• The vast majority of Japanese, however, were
following suit with the nuclear lobby, very well
organized under the auspices of the powerful
Nippon Keidanren
• 54 nuclear power plants were in operation in
early 2011,
• And then Fukushima happened and, beyond the
human/economic drama, exposed the lack of
preparation and the ineffectiveness of TepCo and
the Japanese Government
Eighteen months later…
• The situation is yet to be stabilized in
Fukushima and surroundings (e.g. sea
• The Japanese government, under the pressure
of the street, had to revise and deeply modify
its energy plans
• All nuclear plants were closed and their
production rapidly substituted with thermal
• Japan will have difficulties meeting its carbon
emission reduction targets if the ban on nuclear
is confirmed
• The new target (- 20% by 2030 vs the previous –
25% by 2020) is heavily critized by local activists
• Japan plans to spend nearly 500 b US$ on
renewables in the coming two decades
• No cost estimate for Energiewende seems to
have been produced/discussed
Switzerland - background
• After WW2, the country was relying primarily on
hydro, then attempted to introduce nuclear
• The accident at the Lucens nuclear experimental
power plant in 1969 killed the public sector
• In parallel, between 1969 and 1984, the private
sector built five nuclear power plants that are in
operation and provide 3.2 of the 20 GW national
power demand
Switzerland after Fukushima
• March 25, 2011, the Federal council opts out
of nuclear, programming the closing of the 5
existing plants between 2019 and 2034,
possibly earlier for Mühlenberg that has
similar features with Fukushima
• The Federal Government is actively preparing
a national energy law to be adopted by
Parliament in end of 2012 and subjected to
referendum in 2014
Key features of the Energiewende
• Focus on energy efficiency, with targets of
demand reduction of 70 TWh and 20 TWh
resp. for total energy and electricity demand
reduction by 2050
• Priority to energy conservation measures in
houses and offices
• Reliance on rapid take-off of a variety of
Noteworthy 2050 targets
Wood biomass
+ 10 TWh
+ 4 TWh
+ 4.4 TWh
+ 1.1 TWh
+ 1.4 TWh
+ 3.2 TWh
Parallel processes
• Three « popular initiatives » launched
– Closing of all nuclear plants by 2023
– Cleantech: to accelerate energy efficiency and
renewables development
– Ecological fiscal reform
• Several « cantons », opposed to nuclear, have
set their own bans (e.g. Geneva which gets
87% of energy from renewables and imports
the rest)
• The Cleantech initiative has been costed by
the University of Lausanne
• The losers would be importers (0.6 billion CHF
over 2012-2030, power producers 3.1 and the
Federal Treasury 2.1)…
• In exchange for 21-26 b CHF increase in GDP,
or 2% and the creation of 15,000 jobs
What lessons for France and Europe?
• France lives in the economic crisis mode. The
Fukushima shock has largely been forgotten
and the nuclear lobby is strong as ever
• France is, however, increasingly isolated in the
refusal of the Energiewende
• In the four countries studied here, the
Energiewende is in place and central as well as
local governments are marching. France’s
centralization is also a handicap.
France and Europe
• Adding to the French delay is the inertia of a
system that took 11 years to transpose the
European Directive 2001/42 on the
environmental assessment on plans and
programs in the energy sector
• The only viable solution can come from Europe,
which has the tools and mechanisms to help
integrate these Energiewende into a stable and
effective system. Will there be the politicial will?

Learning from the energy transition in four OECD Countries