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Academic & Professional Books  Environmental & Social Studies  Natural Resource Use & Depletion  Energy

Energy and Power Germany in the Age of Oil, Atoms, and Climate Change

By: Stephen G Gross(Author)
408 pages, 38 b/w illustrations
Energy and Power
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  • Energy and Power ISBN: 9780197667712 Hardback Jul 2023 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 6 days
Price: £35.99
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

A novel exploration of the deeper political, economic, and geopolitical history behind Germany's daring campaign to restructure its energy system around green power.

Since the 1990s, Germany has embarked on a daring campaign to restructure its energy system around renewable power, sparking a global revolution in solar and wind technology. But this pioneering energy transition has been plagued with problems.

In Energy and Power, Stephen G. Gross explains the deeper origins of the Energiewende – Germany's transition to green energy – and offers the first comprehensive history of German energy and climate policy from World War II to the present. The book follows the Federal Republic as it passed through five energy transitions from the dramatic shift to oil that nearly wiped out the nation's hard coal sector, to the oil shocks and the rise of the Green movement in the 1970s and 1980s, the co-creation of a natural gas infrastructure with Russia, and the transition to renewable power today. He shows how debates over energy profoundly shaped the course of German history and influenced the landmark developments that define modern Europe. As Gross argues, the intense and early politicization of energy led the Federal Republic to diverge from the United States and rethink its fossil economy well before global warming became a public issue, building a green energy system in the name of many social goals. Yet Germany's experience also illustrates the difficulty, the political battles, and the unintended consequences that surround energy transitions.

By combining economic theory with a study of interest groups, ideas, and political mobilization, Energy and Power offers a novel explanation for why energy transitions happen. Further, it provides a powerful lens to move beyond conventional debates on Germany's East-West divide, or its postwar engagement with the Holocaust, to explore how this nation has shaped the contemporary world in other important ways.


Introduction: The Paradoxes of German Energy

Part I: The Old Energy Paradigm
Chapter 1. Energy Price Wars and the Battle for the Social Market Economy: The 1950s
Chapter 2. The Coupling Paradigm: Conceptualizing West Germany's First Postwar Energy Transition
Chapter 3. Chains of Oil, 1956-1973
Chapter 4. The Entrepreneurial State: The Nuclear Transition of the 1950s and 1960s
Chapter 5. Shaking the Energy Paradigm: The 1973 Oil Shock and its Aftermath

Part II: The New Energy Paradigm
Chapter 6. Green Energy and the Remaking of West German Politics in the 1970s
Chapter 7. Reinventing Energy Economics after the Oil Shock: The Rise of Ecological Modernization
Chapter 8. Energetic Hopes in the Face of Chernobyl and Climate Change: The 1980s
Chapter 9. The Energy Entanglement of Germany and Russia: Natural Gas, 1970-2000
Chapter 10. Unleashing Green Energy in an Era of Neoliberalism: The 1990s

Coda: German Energy in the Twenty-First Century
Abbreviations and Archives

Customer Reviews


Stephen G. Gross is an Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center of European and Mediterranean Studies at New York University. After working at the Bureau of Economic Analysis (Department of Commerce) in Washington DC, he received his PhD in history from UC Berkeley. He is the author of Export Empire: German Soft Power in Southeastern Europe, 1890-1945, which explores the political economy of the Nazi Empire. His research has been supported by the Fulbright Fellowship, the German Academic Exchange Program, the Institute for New Economic Thinking, the Andrew Carnegie Foundation, and the Andrew Mellon New Directions Fellowship, through which he earned a certificate of sustainable finance at Columbia University.

By: Stephen G Gross(Author)
408 pages, 38 b/w illustrations
Media reviews

"Stephen Gross has written a magnum opus that will stand as a landmark publication not only in postwar German history, but also at the intersection of global economic and environmental history. It offers a fascinating and persuasive account of how an intersection of idiosyncratic regulatory thinking, and a powerful anti-nuclear movement, set Germany on a peculiar path or Sonderweg in energy politics and trapped the country on Europe's economic and political fault-line."
– Harold James, Professor of History and International Affairs, Princeton University

"The shift to renewables changes modern society's energy base, possibly the most foundational decision we will take. With a topic grabbed from today's headlines and given meticulous historical analysis as it unfolded in Germany – a nation in the energy avant-garde, yet also still enmired in (Russian-supplied) fossil fuels – Gross delivers a scholarly coup."
– Peter Baldwin, Professor of History, University of California, Los Angeles

"Energy and Power shows that cheap oil and gas were not the only paths to a successful national economy. Instead, German leaders in the postwar era connected energy to security, social stability, and, intermittently, sustainability. In fascinating ways, Gross shows how a range of players – from green activists to unions to corporations – pursued Germany's ecological modernization."
– Kate Brown, Thomas M. Siebel Distinguished Professor in the History of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"Perhaps the timeliest book of the year: Stephen G. Gross centers energy history to provide a compelling new interpretation of postwar Germany. In a brilliant sweep, he takes the reader through West Germany's energy crises and transitions from the 1950s into the new millennium. Whoever wants to understand Germany's past and current energy predicaments will find answers in this field-changing book."
– Astrid M. Eckert, Emory University

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