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Milder, Stephen ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5650-4003 (2022): A Struggle to Remake the Market: Feed-in Rates and Alternative Energy in 1980s West Germany. In: Contemporary European History, Vol. 31, No. Special issue 4: pp. 593-609 [PDF, 375kB]


Drawing on government documents as well as the papers of renewable energy advocates, this article looks at debates over alternative energy in West Germany during the 1980s. It shows that because West Germany's monopolistic electricity market was dominated by utilities companies reticent to invest in alternatives, struggles over access to the electric grid and the rates independent producers received for their electricity were essential to efforts to add renewables into the German energy mix after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. The legislated ‘feed-in tariff’ for electricity generated by individuals from renewable sources, which emerged from these debates in 1990, cemented the idea that individual Germans, not utilities or the state, were responsible for the fate of renewable energy in Germany and paved the way towards an ‘economically viable’ renewables sector.

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