Energy transition dialogue

On 15 November 2016, high-ranking German and Japanese political and scientific representatives will be meeting in Tokyo to take part in a German-Japanese energy dialogue. The central question to be addressed will be: “How can international cooperation drive forward the energy transition?” One example of such cooperation is the recently-established German-Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC) that was created at the initiative of Professor Peter Hennicke, former president of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.

“When I was in Japan in 2012, I was shocked to see the extent of the triple catastrophe in Fukushima for myself”, says Professor Hennicke today. After a number of visits and discussions, the idea of establishing an expert council was put forward with a view to paving the way for renewable energies and an ambitious energy efficiency strategy. “We want to learn as much as possible from one another”, says Professor Hennicke.

Despite their differences in terms of energy policy and supply, Japan and Germany face similar challenges: namely to transform their energy systems so that supply is secured long-term in a way that is as low-risk and resource-friendly as possible, not to mention largely climate-neutral. At the same time, their energy systems also need to remain internationally competitive throughout this process of ecological modernisation.

The German-Japanese Energy Transition Council was formed in May 2016 with the support of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU), Stiftung Mercator, the Federal Foreign Office and the economics ministries of Germany and Japan. Professor Hennicke und Masakazu Toyoda from the  Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) are its co-chairs. The Wuppertal Institute and the IEEJ support the Council’s work as its scientific secretariats. The 20-member GJETC met for the first time in September 2016.

The central focus of the Council’s work is on sharing experience concerning energy matters. Based on successful examples of good practice in both countries, the aim is to open up new and long-term perspectives on the path towards an ambitious energy transition – with a national and international reach. “If the energy transition can be implemented in these two high-tech countries in a way that is socially compatible and economically sustainable, these examples could serve as a blueprint for other countries”, says Professor Hennicke.

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