This paper addresses the challenge of Germany’s energy transition (Energiewende) as the centerpiece of the country’s green industrial policy. In addition to creating a sustainable foundation for Germany’s energy supply and contributing to global climate change objectives, the Energiewende is intended to create a leading position for German industry in renewable energy technologies, boost innovative capabilities and create employment opportunities in future growth markets. The paper compares solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind energy to illustrate critical elements of green industrial policy success. It concludes that evidence is mixed that Germany reaches its green industrial policy aims at reasonable costs. Wind energy seems to perform better against all policy objectives, while the solar PV sector has come under intense pressure from international competition.

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Renewable energy