Research in the energy sector concentrated up to now on the development of new energy technologies and their optimal combination towards an efficient and effective energy mix. With the envisioned energy transformation in Germany, energy supply will be primarily based on renewable sources of energy and efficiency gains. Furthermore, the demand side of energy will become a major topic of research and will be at the core of future energy policies. The Helmholtz Alliance ENERGY-TRANS places the connections between and among energy technologies, planning procedures and consumer behavior in the focus of the research interests and investigations. Research projects include the interaction of energy supply, energy distribution and energy storage on the one hand and institutional governance and consumer behavior on the other hand. The results are expected to provide policy-oriented knowledge for an efficient and socially acceptable design of a sustainable energy system.
Starting from late 2011, researchers from a variety of academic disciplines within the Helmholtz Alliance apply a holistic and integrative approach to study the complex relationships between energy supply, demand and contextual conditions.
The Environmental Policy Research Centre is involved in the Alliance with a comprehensive project from the political science perspective. The project will investigate new governance requirements for the electricity system restructuring. Complexity grows as a consequence of the involvement of multiple actors at supranational, national, regional and local levels, leading to serious challenges of governance coordination. Issues of horizontal and vertical integration of governance structures as well as challenges and consequences of decentralized or centralized energy system conceptions are still open research questions. Governance needs to comprise multi-objective, multi-actor decision making which requires a systemic approach to the problems and their potential solutions. This underlines the need of further research on the design of policy instruments and their coordination.
An outline of our research interests within the framework of the Helmholtz Alliance you can find here.
Lead centre: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Participating Helmholtz Centres: Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ), German Aerospace Center (DLR), Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Participating Universities: University of Stuttgart, Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg, FU Berlin
Participating non-university research institution: Centre for European Research (ZEW), Mannheim