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OSEA's Roadmap to 2020 Webinar Series: Centralized vs. Decentralized Energy: Lessons from Germany
Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 10:00am (EST)


Archive of the webinar now available.

Sponsored by Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany Toronto Transatlantic Climate Bridge

What lessons can Ontario and North America learn from the decentralized energy transition occurring in Germany?

In Germany, citizens, industry, and politicians have engaged in an “Energiewende” (Energy Revolution) that has resulted in more than 103.4 TWh per year being generated from renewable, representing 20% of Germany’s energy mix (Ontario consumed around 141.5 TWh in 2011). A 40-year plan, the Revolution will make Germany the first country to engage in such a progressive and integrated climate, energy and industrial policy transformation.

Germany’s past successes and future bold goals:

  • A firm commitment to produce 60% of its gross final energy consumption and 80% of its electricity consumption by 2050 through renewable energies;

  • In the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the German government has also decided to phase out nuclear energy production by 2022;

  • The creation of 800,000 well-paying jobs, up from the 360,000 already created through 2011;

  • A 16% share of the global environmental technology market;

  • Improved energy and industry efficiency and emissions

Critics say that the revolution is doomed to fail, that residents and communities, as well as the private sector, should not be allowed to own their energy generation, and that renewables and energy efficiency aren’t enough. Therefore, opponents argue, nuclear and coal plants must be kept online.

Is the German sustainable energy experiment failing? Is a similar transition possible in Ontario? Is it even desirable?

One thing is for certain: the energy sector is changing dramatically. Around the world electrical generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure is being replaced, upgraded and expanded. In Germany, as well as in Ontario, the need to replace aging infrastructure as well as to build out the electricity system to accommodate new and more distributed forms of energy generation is prevalent. This transformation presents significant economic, social and ecological opportunities, but also carries with it inherent challenges.

Germans and Ontarians both want a cleaner energy system. They also want reasonable bills, reliability, the opportunity to participate as generators and conservers, good jobs and local benefit from projects in their backyards.

Join our panel of German and Canadian experts as we examine what is actually happening in Germany and how the lessons learned can inform the choices the people of Ontario and their leaders face as we rebuild and transform our energy infrastructure and power generation.

The Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, in partnership with the Transatlantic Climate Bridge and the German Consulate in Toronto, is proud to present this timely and important conversation.


  • Ania Kohinski, Sustainability Consultant at Canadian Union of Skilled Workers
  • Travis Lusney, Senior Consultant at Power Advisory LLC
  • Arne Jungjohan, Director for the Environment and Global Dialogue Program at the Heinrich Boell Foundation
  • Thomas Timmins, Partner at Gowlings Lafleur Henderson LLP
  • Jack Gibbons, Chair at Ontario Clean Air Alliance

Panelists will address important questions such as:

  • Are there different types of centralized and decentralized energy systems?

  • Why do we need to invest in our grid, new generation and energy efficiency?

  • Why are German’s committed to phasing out nuclear and fossil fuels?

  • What are the characteristics of the system we want to transition to in Ontario?

  • Is a 100% sustainable energy system possible?

  • What will the smart, sustainable energy networks of the future look like?

  • What is the role of community ownership in Germany?

  • How can the integration of monitoring, transportation, electricity generation, cooling and heating and storage change our system?

  • What do we need to do to transition our labour force to build and operate the energy systems of the future?

  • What will the choices we make mean to ratepayers?

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Presentation Slides (PDF)



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