The process of change in the German wind industry

Scientific Essay 2012 16 Pages

Energy Sciences


The process of change in the German wind industry


The paper identifies the necessity of a deep change process in the German wind industry. The need for change in the wind industry was given by the decision of the German government to finish nuclear energy production in the year 2022. The Fukushima accident lead to this decision and showed dramatically the urgency of finding solutions for a stable and sustainable energy production based on renewable energies. The advantages of using decentralized wind energy which is possible through installation of small wind turbines is so far less acknowledged in politics and economics. The amount of investment and the market share of small wind technology are minimal against their potential and compared to the investments which are put in centralized wind energy production with big 3 bladed turbines. The reduction of the costs for the transmission lines and the electrician transmission losses could be a major economical factor to the point that one could have a parallel grid to fulfil the requirements for power of special regions. To increase the percentage of decentralised produced wind energy it is necessary to identify the key reasons which minimise the success of the innovations in the field of small wind technology. Key factors are f.e. high costs for development and high governmental regulations as well as the lack of suitable technology. Another reason can be seen in the thinking of the core persons and decision makers in this business field as well as in politics. To be able to analyse the complex situation and get an understanding of the interconnection of different levels in this industry the systemic model by David Kantor is used which includes the normally less acknowledged level of mental models in economics.

Key Words

Renewable energy, sustainable energy, Wind industry, Small wind technology, decentralised energy, mental models, systemic model


The business field of renewable energy is divided in the wind industry, the solar industry, biomass industry, geothermie and water energy. The German wind industry is one of the major industries in the renewable industries and produces centralised energy, onshore and offshore. It is well known and well accepted worldwide and it is represented by a few big companies. This industry is well described and analysed (Ohlhorst, 2008).

The growing interest in the development of renewable energies in the last 20 years was caused through the discussion of the increasing global warmth and the search for alternatives to fossil energy. Nuclear energy has been so far still an option to ensure stable energy. This changed after the Fukushima accident and the German Government decided to shutdown all nuclear power stations until the year 2022, other countries e.g. Switzerland are following. This changes the requirements for the renewable energy industry in total. The challenge is now to produce cost effective and stable energy for whole nations which is non nuclear and without CO². The investments to reach this goal especially for new transmission lines are tremendous and all renewable industries are going to be approved under the new circumstances. Due to these facts it is important to use every option which could widen the chances to reach the given goal and it may include decentralised produced wind energy through small wind technology.

Methods and resources

The aim of this paper is to show the huge possibilities which are given through decentralised small wind technology as so far less acknowledged business and to find out the reasons about the difficulties and the hindering factors in the market. The small wind technology will be seen as one part of the German Wind industry which is one business field in the renewable industry. The change model of Richard Beckhard will be presented as an overview about a change process. The background model for the analysis of the current situation is the systemic model by David Kantor which is known as a team learning model. It will be adjusted to analyse the macro environmental factors in the German wind industry in order to get an insight about the complexity of the whole situation (Kantor, 1994). The market research covered as given in the PESTLE Analysis economical, environmental, political, social, technical and organisational issues (Hermann, 2002) and was mainly done by a research of literature and in the internet as well as different statistics of the last years. It is divided in the sectors of one the big 3-bladed wind industry and second in the small wind technology sector. First results can be presented and will be discussed and will lead to deeper qualitative research and inquiries which include the mental models of the core persons and decision makers in this business.

Richard Beckhard states that if a process of change is needed the question “why change” has to be answered clearly. Further more you have to get a deep understanding about your current situation and as well as a clear vision or picture of the future situation. Then you can manage the gap between those two situations. To understand the current situation the hard factors, e.g. economical factors as well as the soft factors are to be considered in order to find out which strategies are useful to reach the given goals (Beckhard, 1887)

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Figure 1 The map of change process by Beckhard 1987

Therein the culture could have a major influence. In this term, culture is not only meant as a national culture but also meant as a professional or an organisational culture which influences the mental models and the deeper beliefs of persons or groups (Schein, 1995).

The systemic model of David Kantor provides an overview over the different structural levels which influence the results in the business and the process and indicates the interconnection between the different structural levels.

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Figure 2 The Team Learning Model by David Kantor,1995

The levels of structure which are well known in the strategic management are the “Broader social structures” which include the environment, the business and the organizational level. Deepika Nath calls these levels “traditional territory” which is, in comparison to the face to face structures less visible (Nath, 2008). The “face to face structures” are the level of obvious interpersonal behaviour, the way people do their job, they way they talk to each other and the way of negotiating and decision making. It is also the level of the visible results, e.g. the governmental decision of the nuclear exit in Germany until the year 2022 is an obvious result of the negotiation process after the Fukushima accident in Japan. The level of the “deeper individual structures” is the least visible level of the model. It includes the mental models and the beliefs of people as well as the core beliefs, critical images and stories. The level of the deeper individual structures is both personal and cultural (Schein, 1995).



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Title: The process of change in the German wind industry