The Environmental Policy Research Centre (FFU) has a long tradition of research into energy-related questions from a social science perspective. The FFU brings its energy policy expertise to bear in policy analysis, stakeholder participation, environmental policy integration, impact assessment and sustainability analysis and indicators.
In the area of energy policy and climate protection research has been conducted since the early 1990s on the global challenge of climate protection and liberalisation of energy markets. One of the central issues examined has been the drivers and barriers for a pro-active climate protection policy. FFU research has concentrated on the analysis of the political framework and success conditions for a sustainable energy supply and demand.
Numerous projects have been conducted related to renewable energy and energy conservation. Together with Adelphi Consult, the FFU has worked for the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety on the possibility of developing an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The FFU has coordinated and conducted research within the EU’s 5th and 6th Framework Programme, InterReg and the IEE Programme. The FFU, for example, was a key member of the RegEnergy project, which was co-financed by the European Union. RegEnergy was an effort to help European regions and communities to meet the challenge of a rising demand for heating and cooling through the dissemination of experience gained on previous projects in which renewable energy sources were put to innovative use. The FFU contribution to RegEnergy focused mainly on national, municipal and regional policy measures and implementation, aiming at sustainable energy systems. There is research underway related to the Transfer of Political Instruments for Energy Conservation (TRANSPOSE). This project examines what kind of policy instruments could be formulated to help individuals be more energy efficient and conservation oriented within the household. The FFU is sponsoring a Humboldt Chancellor Fellow, who is conducting research into local policies and programs for renewable energy promotion in Germany and the United States.
The Schools at University for Climate & Energy (SAUCE) project, co-financed by EACI, is an FFU-led international initiative for the development by universities of energy education in primary, secondary, and higher education. It encourages co-operation among member states of the European Union in the education of younger generations about how they can adopt more sustainable energy behaviour.
The FFU was coordinator of REALISE Forum which focused on the analysis of specific support policy issues for renewable sources of energy (RES-E) and investigated the experience gained with national feed-in schemes (FIT) and quotas with tradable green certificates (TGCs) as well as the feasibility for a possibly co-ordinated European approach. Building upon and complementing running activities, REALISE FORUM covered the experience of Germany, Italy, Slovenia, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries. REALISE brought together international members from public authorities, industry, electric utilities, regulators, financial institutions/brokers, consumers´ associations, environmental NGOs and other stakeholder groups involved in policy making or research on renewables. It has provided a platform for exchange of experience and promoted an organised dialogue among the major national/international stakeholders.
Currently, a major initiative spearheaded by the FFU is underway to establish a Berlin Centre for Caspian Region Studies (BC CARE). The work of the Centre will include a strong focus on energy supply and development, energy security and environmental issues in the Caspian Sea region and relations between Europe and the littoral states of the Caspian Sea.
Experts of the FFU are central members of the REFORM group (Restructuring Energy Systems For Optimal Resource Management). REFORM was founded in 1992 and consists additionally of experts from Norway (Norwegian School of Management, Oslo), Germany (FFU, Berlin), the Netherlands (CSTM, University of Twente, and TU Delft), United Kingdom (PSIRU, Greenwich University, London Metropolitan University), Poland (AGH-University of Science and Technology, Krakow), Denmark (TU Denmark, Lyngby, and University Aalborg), Finland (Turku School of Economics and Business Administration), Portugal (University of Porto), Austria (University Salzburg), Switzerland (ETH Geneva), France (CIRED, Paris; and Sorbonne University, Paris). The Reform group also has close co-operation to experts from the US, Brazil, Japan, India and Eastern Europe. Collaboration over the last 15 years has given life to various books on energy policy and energy industry business strategies, including the transformation of the gas and electricity markets and conferences.