The objective of the German Federal Government’s Energy Concept is the long-term reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. This is to be understood as guiding principles for an overall energy policy that involves more than just the phasing out of nuclear energy. The Energy Concept encompasses all sectors of energy supply and demand, from energy conversion and industry to the transport sector and private households. Accelerating the integration of renewable energies into the energy mix and improving energy efficiency are the concept’s most important pillars. This strategy can only become a reality if new technologies are developed and launched on the market – for example electric cars, thermal insulation systems, and storage technologies, all of which would contribute to sustainably reducing energy consumption and therefore greenhouse gas emissions. Not all of these technologies are already available today, and considerable research and development (R&D) is required in the field of energy technology.
It appears that the mission outlined above is simple enough to implement by means of R&D, but, in fact, it is still difficult to say what methods and technology lines will eventually prove successful. How can promising approaches be developed to facilitate their market introduction? Are these technologies the most cost-effective solutions? Is society ready to utilize these technologies and prepared to accept the associated risks? This is the starting point for energy systems analysis at Jülich: it evaluates new technologies and analyses them in the context of the energy system, taking into account society, the economy, and the environment. The section IEK-STE investigates and develops strategies for transforming energy systems, giving due consideration to the relationships between technical, economic, ecological, and social aspects. One of its main research areas is the grid integration of electric vehicles into existing and future energy supply structures.
RWTH Aachen University
The Institute for Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN) is focused on applied theoretical and empirical research in energy economics, management and policy, with a particular thematic focus on the adoption and diffusion of innovative technologies and on energy consumer needs and behaviour. Researchers apply economic and management science theory to the sustainable production and use of energy. Research is undertaken both stand-alone and in collaboration with other social, engineering and natural scientists. Explicit consideration of behavioral aspects and motives, attitudes and needs of firms, private households and governments that shape their energy-using behavior is sought for. Strong emphasis is put on the adoption and diffusion of innovative technologies in supporting a sustainable energy development. In contrast to 'pure' academic research often found in mainstream economics (highly stylized, ahistorical), the aim is to explicitly account for the technological basis and its change and, wherever possible, socio-economic aspects.