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Journal Article

The German energy transition as soft power


Quitzow,  Rainer
IASS Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam;


Thielges,  Sonja
IASS Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam;

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Quitzow, R., Thielges, S. (2020 online): The German energy transition as soft power. - Review of international political economy: RIPE.

Cite as: https://publications.iass-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_6000437
Germany represents a new and unconventional actor in the field of energy foreign policy. Based on its reputation as an energy transition frontrunner, it is pursuing a soft power strategy aimed at promoting its Energiewende policy approach abroad. Germany’s bilateral energy partnerships, this paper argues, represent the government’s central policy instrument for this purpose. After a discussion of the German energy transition as a soft power resource, the paper provides an in-depth empirical analysis of Germany’s bilateral energy partnerships. The paper argues that the partnerships have been deliberately designed as instruments for mobilizing the Energiewende narrative as soft power. Linking it to concepts in the soft power debate, it discusses the main channels through which the partnerships aim to boost the attractiveness of German policy solutions and persuade partners to consider their adoption. The paper concludes with a discussion of implications for further research on the international political economy of energy.