Position papers and analyses

ESYS publishes all project results. Position papers contain policy options for the transformation of the energy system, complementary analyses provide background information. All publications are published in German.

In addition, selected publications are translated into English. An overview of all publications by the Academies’ Project can be found here. On the following page, the English publications are available for download.

Recent Publication

Position Paper | March 2024

Creating Investment Incentives, Providing Reserve Capacity: options for the market integration of renewable energy

The energy transition is associated with high investment costs. How does an electricity market design look like that integrates renewable energies?

Discussion Paper | March 2024

Fracking: an option for Germany? Opportunities, Risks and Uncertainties of Fracking in unconventional reservoirs

Is Fracking an option for Germany? This ESYS Discussion Paper gives an overview on opportunities, risks and uncertainties.

Analysis | March 2024

Options for importing green hydrogen into Germany by 2030

A working group of “Energy Systems of the Future” (ESYS) analysed suitable options for transporting hydrogen including advantages and disadvantages.

Further Publications

Discussion Paper | August 2023

Are Blackouts in Germany Likely

The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine shook the world, and the circumstances of Germany’s energy supply have changed. This uncertainty has given rise to fears of a blackout due to an energy shortage: are blackouts in Germany likely?

Position Paper | December 2022

Accelerating the Expansion of Wind and Solar Power

Renewables are set to become the main pillar of our energy system in the not too distant future. At the same time, a sharp rise in demand for electricity is expected in sectors such as heating and transport. Consequently, the number of new installations will need to grow significantly faster than in the past.

Discussion Paper | September 2022

The Impacts of the War in Ukraine on Energy Prices and Security of Supply in Europe

This is a watershed moment for Germany’s and Europe’s energy supply. Russia’s war on Ukraine has highlighted the dangers of relying on imports from individual nations to guarantee security of supply. The suspension of Russian energy imports would pose extremely serious challenges for Germany and the EU. In the discussion paper “The Impacts of the War in Ukraine on Energy Prices and Security of Supply in Europe”, experts from the Academies’ Project “Energy Systems of the Future” (ESYS) explore the implications of a partial or total suspension of Russian energy exports to Europe.

In a Nutshell! | June 2022

What are negative emissions and why do we need them?

Unavoidable CO2 emissions must be removed from the atmosphere and stored in order to achieve “negative emissions” in this way. What exactly negative emissions are, how they can be generated by nature-based and technological processes, and the advantages and disadvantages of different methods are explained in the new edition of our “In a Nutshell!” format.

Discussion Paper | December 2021

If not now, then when – making the energy transition happen

The next four years will be key to Germany’s climate ambitions. During the term of the new parliament, Germany can either choose to drive climate action both nationally and internationally, or it can pass up this chance and stand idly by while the windows of opportunity close one by one.

Position Paper | April 2021

The resilience of digitalised energy systems

Over the next two decades, the energy transition and the growth of digitalisation will result in new risks to the electricity supply. A resilience strategy will be required to manage these risks and reliably prevent blackouts and their damaging impacts on society. The “Resilience of digitalised energy systems” working group of the Academies’ Project “Energy Systems of the Future” has identified points as the key pillars of any such strategy.

Position Paper | April 2021

Grid Congestion as a Challenge for the Electricity System. Options for a Future Market Design

The energy transition and the European Energy Union are placing new requirements on electricity grids. Any ongoing grid congestion may well cause high costs and additional risks to grid stability, which can be countered by adjusting the market design. This position paper sets out five policy options.

Position Paper | April 2021

Pricing Carbon, Reforming Energy Prices. Pathways to a Cross-sectoral Market Design

How should the market be designed to enable efficient climate protection in Germany and drive sector coupling forward? A comprehensive carbon pricing scheme and a reform of taxes, duties and surcharges are key components. This position paper categorises the decisions from the Climate Action Plan 2030 and sets out options for how revenue from carbon pricing can be put to use to achieve a double dividend for climate protection.

In a Nutshell! | November 2020

Why are Germany’s CO2 Emissions only falling slowly despite the major expansion in renewable energy sources? „In a Nutshell!“

In 2018, CO2 emissions in Germany have fallen noticeably to 866 million tons for the first time since 2014. This is shown by calculations of the German Environment Agency. These figures are not enough to achieve the climate protection targets. Why don't emissions decrease more significantly, even though wind power and solar plants are being steadily expanded?

Ad hoc statement | June 2020

Energy transition 2030: Europe’s path to carbon neutrality

The present ad hoc statement by the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering, and the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities aims to provide the German government, in light of its upcoming presidency of the EU Council, with a compact series of recommendations for giving the desired European energy transition the momentum it requires, not least amidst the challenge posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Position Paper | April 2020

Centralized and decentralized components in the energy system. The right mix for ensuring a stable and sustainable supply

A mix of centralized and decentralized technologies is the only way to ensure a climate-friendly, secure and economic energy supply. The position paper suggests astute ways of combining centralized and decentralized components to create a stable and sustainable energy system.

In a Nutshell! | January 2020

What is the Significance of Nuclear Energy to the Future of Global Power Generation?

While Germany is committed to shutting down all its nuclear power plants by 2022, other countries such as China, Russia and Japan are increasing the share of nuclear power in their energy mix. What role will nuclear power play in the future of both global electricity generation and climate protection?

Discussion Paper | September 2019

Focusing expertise, shaping policy – energy transition now!

Based on their studies into the feasibility of the energy transition by 2050, the German Academies of Sciences' joint "Energy Systems of the Future" (ESYS) initiative, the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and the German Energy Agency (dena) have published a discussion paper with recommendations how Germany's energy transition can succeed. ESYS, BDI and dena have jointly concluded that, although feasible, an energy transition can only be achieved if policymakers take immediate decisive action. A "business as usual" approach will result in Germany comprehensively failing to meet its climate targets.

Position Paper | May 2019

Biomass: striking a balance between energy and climate policies. Strategies for sustainable bioenergy use

Bioenergy is the most versatile of the renewable energy sources. A coherent bioenergy policy must ensure that bioenergy use has no negative social and environmental impacts, and makes the greatest possible contribution to climate protection. The Position Paper shows how to make best use of bioenergy in the energy system.

Position Paper | April 2019

Governance for the European Energy Union

The Position Paper shows how leadership alliances, the EU Commission and EU legislators must make effective use of the scope of the Governance Regulation and points out options for accompanying measures.

Position Paper | August 2018

Coupling the different energy sectors − options for the next phase of the energy transition

How can we drive fossil fuels out of the energy system and achieve our climate targets? Based on expert discussions, a comparison of relevant energy scenarios and their own model calculations, the Academies’ Project ESYS has developed a list of courses of action for Germany. The Position Paper has summarised the most important results.

Position Paper | March 2018

Raw materials for the energy transition. Securing a reliable and sustainable supply

The supply of metals and energy products depends on various factors, i.e. how raw material prices develop, or how transparent and accessible the markets are. The position paper describes how Germany can become more independent of raw material imports and what measures can help to secure the supply in the long term.

Position Paper | March 2016

Consulting with energy scenarios. Requirements for scientific policy advise

Energy scenarios can considerably influence political decisions. It is therefore of major importance that the results are both comprehensible and verifiable. However, as calculation models are part of the implementing institutions’ operating capital, they are frequently not disclosed. Also, it is not always clear whether the results are influenced by any provisions by the commissioning institutions. The position paper by the Academies’ Project “Energy Systems of the Future” (ESYS) offers suggestions how transparency can be increased.

Position Paper | February 2016

Flexibility concepts for the German power supply in 2050. Ensuring stability in the age of renewable energies

So-called flexibility technologies are necessary to balance the fluctuations naturally inherent to power generation from wind and photovoltaics. A working group of the Academies’ Project “Energy Systems of the Future” (ESYS) has developed a special model enabling the comparison of 130 different constellations. The position paper summarises the main findings and presents design options for energy policies.

Position Paper | July 2015

Incorporating the German Energiewende into a comprehensive European approach

In order to mitigate global warming, as many countries as possible must strive to make their energy supply systems more sustainable. It is up to the EU to establish an integrated energy and climate policy as an internationally compatible system. Therefore, this position paper advocates the closer integration of the German energy transition into the European energy and climate policy scheme.