Energiewende – an Herculean task

Transforming the energy system: the in-depth psychology

So what would a hero of antiquity do? With a master plan in his pocket, a trump card that promises to bring his quest to a successful conclusion, and with the prospect of great riches somewhere beyond the horizon, surely he would waste no time: he would buy a ship, hire a crew and set sail with great enthusiasm and even greater expectations. Isn’t that more or less what we should be doing?

But do we have this questing spirit, this entrepreneurial flair, in our German society? Have we recognised this great opportunity? Or is our energy system transformation on the verge of stalling? Are we wasting words, instead of working to make this carefully crafted vision a reality? Are we finding reasons not to embark on the journey? Indeed, are we about to face a mutiny?

For sociologists, an exciting new field of research beckons: producing an in-depth psychological analysis of energy system transformation and identifying the reasons for the fears and blockages.

Apparently it was easier to strip the Germans of their savings in the dot-com boom than to persuade them to invest in building a new infrastructure today, even though it offers the prospect of secure returns, with this security guaranteed primarily by Germany’s own commitment, hard work and organisational capacities.