German Energy Transition Foreign Policy

In this project, the IPW-HSG supports together with stiftung neue verantwortung the development of network strategy for a successful energy transition foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The Point of Departure 

With the implementation of its Energiewende, Germany is making an important contribution to combating climate change. The Energiewende has become a cornerstone of Germany’s image abroad as well as a significant driver of German economic performance. Still, in order to fight global climate change, an energy transition in Germany alone will not suffice. Global competition for German companies in the field of sustainable energy solutions has risen sharply, and the positive external image of the Energiewende is suffering from the external perception of often times controversial domestic debate.

An active German energy transition foreign policy is thus needed. It shall focus on three objectives: promoting global climate protection; transforming the Energiewende into a German foreign policy asset; and creating markets for German companies.

The Challenge

Already today, a variety of German organizations is contributing to achieving these three goals in different ways. These organizations include ministries, agencies and initiatives as well as political foundations, companies, NGOs and academic institutions.

A successful Energiewende/energy transition foreign policy needs to be coordinated with and supported by this network. Only when this is the case, can such policy realize existing cooperation potentials and contribute to an efficient utilization of existing resources. For individual organizations, knowledge about the network is as critical as its incorporation into their own strategy formulation. This is the only way existing network-activities can be usefully and specifically supplemented and expanded.

Partners and Procedure

The project is implemented by the stiftung neue verantwortung in Berlin and the Department of Political Science at the University of St.Gallen. By conducting interviews with the organizations in the network, project staff will collect data about their interests, practices and their demands for policy. The method of social network analysis will help to clarify interaction structures and interest constellations within the network. The project involves key network stakeholders by setting up a group of associated experts and through interactive workshops.

Three Outcomes

Increased network awareness: The network analysis provides an overview of the Energiewende/energy transition foreign policy network. This helps organizations in the network get a better sense of the environment in which they act, and to identify cooperation potentials.

Common narrative: Together with the energy transition foreign policy network, the project explores the possibility of a narrative that provides a common framework for the activities of all organizations in the network, and in this way helps external partners to get a clearer picture of the German energy transition.

Energy transition foreign policy strategy: Based on the preceding analysis, the project develops recommendations for a German energy transition foreign policy. The recommendations aim at realizing cooperation potentials, efficiently pooling resources and effectively supplementing existing practices in the energy transition network.


March 2016 - February 2017


Federal Foreign Office of Germany