The government's plans to extend the lifespan of Germany's nuclear power plants and the duration of the scheme has stirred controversy in recent months.
Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen (CDU) was seeking a short renewal, while the Liberal coalition partners were hoping for a longer one.
Among the governing coalition, there is a broad consensus that nuclear power is needed as a 'bridging technology' on the way to the long-term goal of attaining a sustainable and largely renewable energy supply.
Merkel's energy journey identified energy security as its highest priority, but did not address issues of safety such as the question of final storage of radioactive waste.
When the German government announced its Energy Concept 2050 on 6 September (see 'Background'), the renewal that was granted to nuclear power plants was much longer than commentators had expected.
An extension of eight years was granted to plants built before 1981 and 14 years for plants built after that date. The average extension was 12 years compared to ten years under previous forecasts.
In addition, some stakeholders noted that few binding requirements were introduced to improve safety and the reinvestment of profits in research on renewables.
Sharp criticism came from municipalities, renewables companies and some Länder, like North Rhine-Westphalia, which is governed by the Social Democrats and Green parties.
There was talk of suing the government for failing to put the package to a vote in the Bundesrat, which represents the Länder and where the parties of the federal government do not hold a majority.
It has been claimed, however, that a lawsuit would be unlikely to succeed as the Bundesrat is not supposed to have a say in this matter.
Infringement procedure looming?
Germany, like the other EU member states, was supposed to report on the security of its energy supply by 31 July. But the government let the deadline pass and now faces the possibility of infringement proceedings from the European Commission. It is expected to hand in the report later this year.
Greenpeace, the environmental NGO, suspects foul play and intends to sue. Its assumption is that the government has tried to hide the fact that demand for nuclear energy is falling and that there is no need to extend the lifespan of nuclear plants.
One argument that backs up this theory is that the last report in 2008 assumed that the share of renewables in Germany's energy mix would rise to 23% by 2020, above the EU target. But the latest figures by the National Action Plan for Renewable Energy are actually much higher, at 38.6%.
Despite the harsh criticism, Germany's EU commissioner for energy, Günther Oettinger, congratulated the German government on the healthy compromise in the strategy.
He points to increased spending on safety and the reinvestment of a large proportion of the additional profits made by nuclear companies in renewable energy, and perhaps even in coal subsidies. The latter are meant to be discontinued as from 2014, a cause of great outcry in Germany.