Date: September 10, 2015, No. 70

“Shaping the energy turnaround as a system“

New research association “Stuttgart Research Initiative on Integrated Systems Analysis for Energy” (STRISE) founded

In order for the energy turnaround to be able to succeed, it is not sufficient just to make energy available efficiently and sustainably. It is far more about shaping a long-term and complex transformation process in which the technical, economic, ecological and social dimension is observed in an integrated way. The system analysis is able to achieve this. At the Stuttgart location several international renowned research institutions are working in this field. In future they will pool their expertise in order to accompany the project “Energy Turnaround” that is so significant for our society and economy in a scientifically sound and more comprehensive way than has been the case up to now. For this purpose the “Stuttgart Research Initiative on Integrated Systems Analysis for Energy” (STRise) was founded on 1 st September 2015. Partners are the Institute of Energy Economics and Rational Use of Energy (IER) and for Energy Storage (IES) as well as the Centre for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Research (ZIRIUS) at the University of Stuttgart, the Centre of Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics (ITT) at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR).

Science Minister Theresia Bauer welcomed the initiative from the University of Stuttgart, DLR and ZSW and emphasised that the energy turnaround can only succeed if it is approached holistically and systematically. “The new research association is starting in the right place by closely observing the entire system and combining in an exemplary fashion basic and application-oriented research competences beyond institutional and disciplinary boundaries.“

“By the involved institutions pooling their expertise, we are creating the opportunity with the new association STRise to observe questions raised by the energy turnaround in system research more comprehensively than has been possible up to now in a scientifically sound way. The aim is to integrate social factors in an integral way in the analyses along with ecological and economical aspects“, according to the Head of the so IER and spokesperson for the association on the part of the University Stuttgart, Professor Doctor Kai Hufendiek. Examples are the acceptance of new technologies or preferences in the population resp. the role of various social groups in change processes. “With this the partners are making an important contribution towards successfully designing the energy system of the future with the aim of further strengthening the attractiveness of the state of Baden-Württemberg as the leading region for energy turnaround and increasing international visibility“, Professor Hufendiek went on to say.

The basis of the work performed by STRise is a broader systematic understanding that better reflects the increasing complexity of the energy system and its interactions. In so doing it not only depends on technical components but also observes the behaviour and interaction of various actors in an integrative way. Those chains of effect are also included that are driven by exogenous changes such as the international development of the energy markets or technical advances or through endogenous changes, for example as a result of political measures.

In concrete terms the association is focussed on four closely interwoven thematic clusters:

The cluster “ Actors in the energy turnaround“ focuses on socio-techno-economic issues. On the one hand it questions how the current high but abstract acceptance of the energy turnaround in the population can be maintained if ecological or aesthetic “side effects” of wind parks or storage facilities affect the quality of life in front of our own front door. On the other hand it is to explore how the active cooperation of citizens in the energy turnaround can be improved, for example in the field of building refurbishments, through doing without energy guzzlers in the household or through a changed mobility behaviour. The role of organisations (companies, energy associations, societies, NGOs) and the political actors is also analysed in this cluster.

At the centre of the cluster “Further development of the energy systems“ are the technical-structural demands on the further design of the energy system. Essential pillars of this type of future architecture are the expansion of the supply networks, individual techniques of energy provision or intelligently linked decentralised resp. regionalised structures. Interdependencies with the neighbouring countries and the global energy context are also taken into account. An international energy turnaround monitoring is to be performed for selected countries and regions with the aim of identifying relevant future markets and benchmarks for the local economy at an early stage.

Modern information and communication technologies enable completely new control and integration concepts in the framework of intelligent decentralised energy systems. These types of systems developed under the heading ‘Smart Grids‘ and ‘Smart Energy‘ are particularly characterised by the production and supply side being closely integrated with the demand side and correspondingly integrated. The cluster Operatives System Management develops new, intelligent concepts and algorithms in order to efficiently control and use such systems taking into account consumer behaviour. Along with the integration of building energy supply in industry, commerce and in the residential field, the integration of manufacturing controls also plays an essential role under the heading “Industry 4.0“.

The energy turnaround not only changes the energy system itself but the entire economic and social system. It could lead to considerable distribution effects, for example between various sectors or regions. In the case of private households, price effects could lead to a changed demand-related behaviour or even threatened energy poverty. On the other hand the energy turnaround is an innovation driver par excellence that strengthens the domestic economy and even radiates to the world economy. The cluster Impacts and Opportunities deals with these far-reaching effects. The aim here is to record and assess the diverse effects and interdependences within the entire system in order to enable the energy turnaround process to be controlled by means of political measures as well as to strengthen the innovative power and to prevent undesirable developments.

Further information:

University of Stuttgart:

Professor Doctor Kai Hufendiek, Institute of Energy Economics and Rational Use of Energy (IER), Tel. 0711/685 87801, Email: kai.hufendiek@ier.uni-stuttgart.de

Professor Doctor Ortwin Renn, Centre for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Research at the University of Stuttgart (ZIRIUS), Tel.: 0711/685-83971, Email: sekretariat.renn@sowi.uni-stuttgart.de

Professor Doctor André Thess, Institute for Energy Storage (IES)

Centre of Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW)

Professor Doctor Frithjof Staiß – Research Field Energy Policy and Energy Sources, Tel. 0711/7870-0, Email: frithjof.staiss@zsw-bw.de

DLR – Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.

Professor Doctor André Thess – Institute of Technical Thermodynamics (ITT), Tel. 0711/6862-358, Email: Andre.Thess@dlr.de