Governance of Electricity System Restructuring

  • Contact:

    Prof. Miranda Schreurs, project manager

  • Project Group:

    Prof. Miranda Schreurs, Dr. Dörte Ohlhorst, Dr. Kerstin Tews; Dr. Pia-Johanna Schweizer, Dr. Sibyl D. Steuwer

  • Partner:

    Environmental Policy Research Centre (FFU), Freie Universität Berlin

    ZIRIUS, Research Center on Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies, University of Stuttgart

The project will provide an investigation of three aspects concerning the governance of electricity system restructuring.

Comparative Perspectives of Governance of Renewable Energy and Grid Infrastructure Development:

It is not only important for Germany to understand how neighbouring countries perceive renewable energy and related infrastructure development as they may be potential partners in a European renewable electricity grid structure, but also to consider what lessons, experiences and proposals others may have to offer from their own experiences with regulatory developments. We will investigate policy developments and best practices tied to the governance of renewable energy and related infrastructure development (e.g. grid infrastructure, smart grids, renewable energy systems, and storage facilities) primarily in Germany’s immediate neighbours (the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark) plus Norway and Sweden where renewable energy policies are also rapidly changing.

Governance through vertical and horizontal integration:

The transition to a renewable energy-dominated electricity structure will require considerable policy coordination both horizontally (e.g. across the German states (Länder) or between regions) and vertically from the level of the local community through the German state to the federal level. The transformation of Germany’s electricity infrastructure will affect many actors, institutions, and structures operating at different levels. Beyond this, Germany’s policy changes must be integrated into European Union structures. Parallelling this are questions of more decentralized or more centralized approaches to renewable electricity development. We will first look at what decision making processes have promoted the successful development of decentralized renewable electricity? What obstacles have complicated their development? What mechanisms and incentives could speed the transfer of decentralized renewable electricity structures? We will then consider more centralized, large-scale renewable electricity systems. What makes it possible to develop the necessary infrastructure for high voltage grids and large-scale renewable parks? Finally, we will examine the governance challenges related to more decentralized and more centralized approaches and ways to overcome them taking into consideration both vertical and horizontal coordination. Case studies will be made of cross-Länder and cross-regional cooperation and obstacles as well as vertical integration from the level of the community through to the level of the federal government.Photo: KIT

Policy measures and strategies for electricity efficiency to minimize the need for grid extension:

The need for grid extension is determined by the need for electricity. Thus, strategies and measures to reduce the demand for electricity must be a key component of the policy to transform the energy supply system in Germany. We will consider typical barriers to the implementation of energy saving activities and policies to address them. Actors within different sectors differ considerably regarding their responsiveness to policy interventions. We will investigate barriers and policy instruments to address them for the three most relevant electricity consumers groups: industry, private households and trade & services. A special focus will be on small and medium enterprises in the industry sector, the household sector as a whole and the public sector as it could function as a role model for the tertiary sector.