Germany is a great example of a country with a mature energy and industrial sector (heavily weighted toward capital goods), together with slow economic growth. It does have an indigenous coal industry, but not any major players in oil or natural gas (unlike the US, for example). Up to now the Energiewende
has been focused on the replacement of the nuclear electricity generating stations, which will complete in 2022. The result has been a flatlining in CO2 emissions since 2009, with emission in 2016 actually increasing.http://ceenews.info/en/germanys-co2-emissions-between-ambition-and-reality/
After 2022 the renewables will start replacing fossil fuels directly, from a position of already having a large percentage share of the electricity generating sector. The country may then be a trailblazer in overcoming a number of challenges to the energy transition, that many of the mature industrial economies will face. These issues are starting to play out within the German political policy making landscape:
1. Overcoming the entrenched economic interests of the fossil fuel providers (i.e. the coal producers and coal-fired generating plant owners). This will involve the scrapping of many coal plants and the related coal producing areas, and attempts to stretch out the timeframes for such closures are already evident.
2. Integrating an increasing share of renewables into the generating network, which gets harder as the percentage penetration increases. The addition of quick-cycle natural gas plants does provide benefits in this area, but also increases fossil-fuel dependence.
3. Driving reduction in GHG's across the energy system, not just within the current electricity generating system. According to the President of the German Environment Agency "If things do not get started in the transport sector soon, we will miss our climate goals".
Germans still have a strong commitment to the energy transition, and its political processes are not infested with oligarch and corporate money in the same way as the U.S. It also has a very substantial indigenous engineering and capital good sector. If any country should be able to overcome such challenges, it should be Germany. So tracking their progress in detail will be instructive.
I see the opposite cases to Germany as the U.S. (massive entrenched fossil fuel interests and a big-money takeover of politics) and China (very rapid growth makes the addition of renewables and efficiency gains much easier, together with an authoritarian-bureaucratic state).
We have topics for China and India (which is at a much earlier and usually energy intensive stage of growth than China), so adding ones for Germany and the U.S. should provide a good sample of countries. As well as a majority of global GHG emissions.