The Energy Policy Turnaround Caught Between Regionalisation and Centralisation (ENERGIO)

Duration: September 2013 – August 2016

Project coordination: Ifo Institute, Ifo Center for Energy, Climate and Exhaustible Resources (Prof. Karen Pittel)

Collaborators: University of Kassel (Prof. Andreas Ziegler), University of Hamburg (Prof. Andreas Lange), ewi Energy Research & Scenarios gGmbH

Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Summary: In the course of the turnaround in energy policy the German federal government set targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the increase in the share of renewable energies and the reduction in energy consumption. The implementation of the measures necessary to achieve this usually requires an agreement between the federal states and municipalities, as well as a local implementation of the measures. Closely linked to the need for regional implementation and for independent local and regional policy measures are approaches to a decentralisation of energy provision itself, which completes, and if necessary, replaces existing central provision. However, between the regionalization of energy policy and a centralized approach there is a potential area of tension arising from both the characteristics of energy provision, as well as from behavioural and acceptance aspects on the part of citizens, companies and state institutions. Both centralized, supraregional planning, as well as a decentralised approach that is close to citizens have certain advantages, but cannot be readily implemented at the same time.

The aim of this project is to shed empirical light on regional aspects of the planning and implementation of the energy turnaround in Germany and to explain the interaction between cost efficiency and preference equality/acceptance. Different methods will be used to analyse the degree to which the acceptance and participation of the players involved differ at a regional level and how energy policy measures can be designed in a regionally differentiated and/or more cost-effective way. It will also explore whether energy policy measures can be implemented in areas where it is least expensive to do so and/or where the greatest untapped potential for avoiding CO2 emissions and innovation can be expected. Policy recommendations can then be deduced with the help of theory-based criteria. The results will be made available to experts and the general public. The validity and transferability of the results will be improved via an interdiscplinary group of project experts and the organisation of workshops.


Prof. Dr. Heike Wetzel
Tel. (0561) 804 - 7750