Power consumption in German households is growing continuously and its high energy intensity has consequences for the environment and for the security of energy supplies. Research results have shown that there is potential for savings in electricity in the household. Why, however, are these possibilities rarely used? Are consumers acting unreasonably or is the climate not important to them or do they know nothing about these options?
The research project is based on the assumption that there are a number of barriers that prohibit or impede consumers to efficiently use energy. These barriers have not been thoroughly discussed and studied. The research team suspects that they can only be overcome through a change in the perceived constraints on action. Therefore, governance instruments are needed which will make dealing with electricity more rational, efficient and economical for individuals.
Barriers for a sustainable electricity consumption can be reduced by providing insights to revelant knowledge through practical offers, feedback, incentives and opening up opportunities for coordinated action. Possible instruments range from transaction cost-reducing measures to strengthening consumer power (including producer-consumer dialogue) to public-private partnerships, efficiency funds and top-runner approaches.
But how can the most effective instruments be identified? A common approach is to search for "good practices" in other countries. It is often naively assumed that (1) a low current consumption is in fact due to the instruments used, and that (2) these instruments can be simply transferred to other national contexts. This results in a considerable limitation of the relevance and effectiveness of existing policy studies.
The project group takes up this problem. The project is developing policies to promote sustainable consumption in the consumption of electricity used in private households, where both the purchase of products and their use are considered.
The objective of the group is to work closely with stakeholders of the German context to develop appropriate policy instruments and to initiate the process of implementation. This is done in four steps:
- frame analysis: identification of potential savings, a survey instrument portfolio, determination of the price elasticity.
- deduction and identification of effective policy instruments: development of an integrated psychological-sociological action model, performing a quantitative country-comparative policy analysis
- micro-funding: conducting qualitative case studies to enact on the modes of action of policy instruments
- transfer conditions and policy import: Conduct a transfer analysis and catalysis