Wind turbines in the Indian state of Rajasthan: renewable energies are on the rise across the globe.
Wind turbines in the Indian state of Rajasthan: renewable energies are on the rise across the globe. istock/BremecR

Headline: Global Energy Transition


A sustainable, low-carbon energy supply is essential for achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Although fossil fuels continue to dominate the global energy supply, renewable energy sources are on the rise around the world. In the electricity sector, capacity additions in renewable energy have surpassed those from fossil-based energy sources.

International cooperation and the global political economy of the energy transition

The global energy transition is underway and will have considerable geopolitical impacts, as the report of the Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation, convened by IRENA in 2018, highlights. It will reconfigure the positioning and strategic alliances of countries and affect global trade and opportunities for economic development. Competition over scarce fossil fuel resources could shift to a struggle over the control of low-carbon technologies and the necessary rare earths and minerals.

While the ramifications of many of these developments remain highly uncertain, countries have begun to devise strategies not only to position themselves in this emerging geopolitical landscape but to actively shape it. They are also forming new alliances in an effort to influence international developments to suit their national interests and goals. In the work area on the "Global Energy Transition", we aim to better understand these processes by analyzing global trends and key international energy policy initiatives. Our research focuses on:

  • The foreign energy policies of Germany and other key energy transition players including the U.S., China and the European Union;
  • The G20's contribution to a global energy transition;
  • And the relationship between international cooperation and national energy transition processes;

Strengthening global policy for a global energy transition

Based on a transdisciplinary research approach, we engage with stakeholders from policy, business and civil society to develop proposals for strengthening global policy in support of a transition to sustainable energy. In our work, we cooperate closely with a network of international research institutions. In particular, our aim is to support the further development of Germany's international energy transition policy. Our research findings and policy proposals are disseminated in workshops, panel discussions, policy briefs as well as articles in newspapers, policy-oriented and academic journals.