Research Cluster "Energy Systems"

The main part of this cluster "energy systems" will focus on the energy transitions in both Germany and Australia, as well as their mutual interaction. Multiple original research fields are created by the complex real world policy implementation to change energy supply infrastructure at a so-far unprecedented rate. Examples are: Complex network theory for electricity grids, economic and strategic analysis from the operator perspective into optimal energy supply infrastructure operation, national market design for renewable certificates and emission trading systems, optimizing interplay at sub-hourly resolution between different demand side policies within the context of a variable, renewable energy supply side, social side-effects of low carbon policies. The regulation of energy markets with often multiple and overlaying policies like feed-in tariffs, emission trading systems and renewable quotas can provide a strong incentive for a transition towards carbon-free electricity sources. The interplay of multiple policy instruments can have unforeseen, complex outcomes, so that ideally the policy mix would align and complement their implicit incentive structures and minimize administrative overhead costs (which is linked to that public acceptance). This economic research in the real-world context of Germany and Australia is a newly opening research field, while previous economic analysis often considered single policy instruments in isolation and only in regard to single policy objectives (e.g. reducing emissions within the next 5 years). The link towards the other clusters is twofold. First, in the very long term, a renewable hydro, solar and wind infrastructure will have to take into account changing wind, solar insulation, and precipitation patterns. However, the second and more important link will be in the other direction. The next two decades of mitigation action in industrialized and developing countries is critical for longer-term climate change, given that any delay in strong mitigation action has the potential to substantially increase the cumulative emission levels. Thus, this module will cast light on costs, implementation barriers and co-benefits of various regulatory options for the energy markets that are in line with different emission levels over the next two decades.