First meeting of the Energy Independence Council - For a long-term strategy for Germany's gas phase-out

The Energy Independence Council (EIC) convened for the first time on February 2, 2023. The council consists of eight experts who will develop a concrete and implementable strategy for Germany's gas phase-out.

The Energy Independence Council (Fachrat Energieunabhängigkeit) convened for the first time today. The council consists of eight experts who will develop a concrete and implementable strategy for Germany’s gas phase-out. Among other things, they will devise an economic policy agenda focusing on the building sector and the industrial use of gas. The Council is a project of the ZOE Institute for Future-fit Economies and stems from a joint initiative of the Climate Finance Fund and ZOE.

“Germany has clear climate policy goals and the German government has announced an ambitious expansion for renewable energies. What is missing is an economic plan for reducing Germany’s dependence on fossil natural gas swiftly and in the long term. The Energy Independence Council will develop a feasible gas phase-out strategy,” said Jakob Hafele, co-founder, executive director, and head economist at ZOE.

The energy and geopolitical consequences of the Ukraine war risk not only increasing the German economy’s current dependence on gas in the short term but also jeopardizing the phase-out in the medium term.

“The industrial and building sectors in Germany continue to rely on natural gas as an essential energy source, and this undermines the German government’s climate policy,” says Jonathan Barth, co-founder of ZOE and spokesperson for the Council.

Jonathan Barth also added, “The Ampel is trapped in crisis mode, giving little time to long-term issues. That’s why we’re developing an economic long-term agenda to make the gas phase-out in industrial and building sectors a success.”   

The goal of the Energy Independence Council: an economic policy agenda for Germany’s gas phase-out. The Council will consider not only technical solutions but also financial, legal, and political dimensions. To this end, the eight experts will explicitly analyze the role of labor markets, industrial policy, fiscal policy, and financial policy in a gas phase-out.

The starting point of the work will be strategies for mobilizing private capital to achieve an accelerated end to fossil gas use. The experts will define precise questions in the first council meetings and through discussions with other stakeholders.

The Council is composed of eight members with interdisciplinary backgrounds, combining technical aspects of the energy transition with financial, fiscal, and macroeconomic perspectives.

Members of the Energy Independence Expert Council are:

  • Frank Peter (Director Agora Industrie, Vice Director Agora Energiewende, expert on industrial transformation)
  • Prof. Adam Tooze (Economic historian, professor at Columbia University, and director of the European Institute)
  • Kristina Jeromin (Managing Director, Green & Sustainable Finance Cluster Germany)
  • Prof. Dr. Tom Krebs (Former advisor to the German government, macroeconomist, and labor economist)
  • Caroline Herkströter (Financial Law Expert, Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright)
  • Dr. Martin Pehnt (Scientific Director of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, an expert on heat transition and buildings)
  • Tariq Noori (Head of Group Strategy & Sustainability at DZ BANK AG)
  • Dr. Anna Leipprand (Senior Researcher Future Energy and Industrial Systems, Wuppertal Institute)

The Energy Independence Council meets in Berlin. From right to left: Frank Peter, Kristina Jeromin, Dr. Martin Pehnt, Jonathan Barth, Prof. Dr. Tom Krebs, Tariq Noori.

The Council will meet in seven sessions, which ZOE will convene, organize, and moderate.

In the press kit, you will find detailed information about the Expert Council on Energy Independence, Jonathan Barth, and ZOE. For questions and interview requests, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Lydia Korinek, +49 152 03853158

Anabel Bermejo, +49 172 587 0087

Press kit