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Rosa Luxemburg Foundation: At least since the nuclear catastrophe of Fukushima in 2011, the energy revolution in the Federal Republic has been decided. From the CDU to the DIE LINKE party, all parties represented in the Bundestag support the project. In addition to the conversion of energy supply to renewable energy sources, the energy turnaround includes the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) according to the exit from nuclear energy and the increase in energy efficiency (BMWi 2014). The ministry sees the energy transition as “the way to a safe and clean future”. Nevertheless, the implementation of the energy transition is anything but undisputed: Should the energy supply of the future continue to be provided by the major energy companies, or should decentralized actors such as cooperatives and municipal utilities replace them in the long term? Do we need new high-voltage power lines, or will each household generate its own electricity in the future? Should we cultivate biodiesel in the fields or would we rather give up driving? Can and should climate change be handled within the framework of a capitalist economic system, or do we need fundamental alternatives?

Behind each of these questions, different social actors hide with their respective interests, ideals and values: While the energy companies want to build large offshore wind farms offshore, energy cooperatives or bioenergy villages rely on the decentralization of energy supply. Wherever new power lines or wind farms are to be built, local residents complain about “blighting” the landscape, and environmentalists warn against the extinction of endangered bat species. The unions are worried about the loss of jobs, while elsewhere citizen requests are reclaiming the electricity supply. This makes it clear that the energy turnaround is not a purely technical transformation of the energy supply, but that it is equally about a social transformation that provokes new conflicts. This raises not only questions about technical feasibility and implementation, but also questions about participation and acceptance as well as basic values.

ISSN: 2194-2242