Largest EU economy can reach 100% ‘clean energy’ by 2035 for less than fossil fuel spending

The Clean Energy U-Curve

There are thousands of different ways a society can deploy clean energy, due to the various different possible combinations of solar, wind, batteries and so on, with some combinations involving more expense, and less efficiency, than others. The analytical tool we use to explore which of these combinations is most optimal for any region is the Clean Energy U-Curve.

Germany’s ‘super power’ opportunity

Applying the tool to Germany, whose current electricity demand fluctuates around 500 terawatt-hours (TWh), the RethinkX team found that Germany could meet all of this demand with solar, wind and batteries (SWB) within the next 10 years at a total cost of just $36.7 billion a year. That’s less than 1% of Germany’s GDP (and less than its current annual fossil fuel subsidies).

Going all in on clean energy is still cheaper than fossil fuels

But this, too, is just the beginning. Our research found that Germany has the opportunity to rapidly transform not just its electricity system, but its entire energy system by 2035. And once again, it can do it for cheaper than what Germany currently spends on fossil fuel imports and subsidies. This is the path we see as the boldest, but also the safest, if Germany is serious about achieving true energy independence.

Cascading effects of the new system

Germany will enter a new era where clean, cheap energy superabundance not only dramatically reduces costs of living and industry across society, but opens up unprecedented opportunities in a similar way that zero-cost information did with the Internet.

An opportunity for Europe

Our new paper, though focused on Germany, of course has huge implications for the whole of Europe. Because if the data shows decisively how Europe’s largest economy can transform from abject fossil fuel dependence to clean energy superabundance, this means that the rest of Europe can do it too.

So what’s next?

Our roadmap to achieve ‘freedom energy’ looks simple — but it won’t be easy. Achieving the goal of total energy independence by 2030–35 will be a major effort, akin to a moonshot or war-time mobilisation. It will need clear goals, metrics and resource allocation. Citizens will need to understand what is at stake, but also what is truly possible — and why the transformation is worth all the effort. This commitment will need to translate into a range of strategies.

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RethinkX is an independent think tank that analyzes and forecasts the speed and scale of technology-driven disruption and its implications across society.

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RethinkX, disruptive technology think tank

RethinkX, disruptive technology think tank

RethinkX is an independent think tank that analyzes and forecasts the speed and scale of technology-driven disruption and its implications across society.