The utility sector is facing major challenges: new political, ecological and societal norms, the raise of the "share economy", collaborative communities and the responsabilities for energy-prosumers will change the landscape of the energy sector sustainable. This shift in the landscape forces the incumbent players in the sector to think and act in a energy-network, which is a totally new paradigm and the main challenge for them.
Our Research Priority
Crowd Energy is the collective effort of individuals or profit or non-profit organizations, or both, pooling their resources through online ICT-applications to help to implement the energy turnaround. This implies both, the concept of decentralization (production, storage and consumption of renewable electricity) and a substantial change in society, economy and politics.
Our research priority "Crowd Energy" focuses not only on the technical part of the new energy market, but also its consequences on incumbent and new players in the market: new market design, prosumer behaviour and new business models are some examples, which reflects the new energy sector.
For further informations visit our "Crowd Energy"- homepage.
SVEN - Smart Value Energy Network
The smart grid initiative is a precious instrument to support ambitious goals of emission reduction, energy efficiency and stable energy distribution. Inherently, it replaces concepts and perceptions of energy which puts the product "energy" on the backseat. Services become the decisive factor to achieve the goals, but more importantly stay competitive in the market. Innovation and customer orientated attitude are the essential capabilities for a "value added" service. Consequently, the industry undergoes a transition towards a "Smart Value Energy Network" (SVEN). Especially, established organisations have to reposition adequately and facing tremendous challenges to achieve higher network efficiency andto fight back the emergent of new entrants (e.g. ICT).
Our SVEN research project will answer prompt questions to topics around smart grids as
- Innovation space for services
- Pricing strategies
- Adequate business concepts
- Possible scenarios and their drivers
- The rebound effect
For practicability reason, SVEN is split up according above areas in sub-projects and partners are welcomed to participate in single sections or in its entirety. Learn more about the project.
The decentralised structure model tries to close the gap of the effects on the electricity grid from a prosumer oriented view. Up to date, numerous scenarios are calculated to show the impact of renewables or consumption adjustments on the overall network; mainly how load is shifted and what is the impact on the efficiency of big power plants.
This research visualises the efficiency potential of prosumers through the creation of a cellular structure where each cell can produce, consume, and store electricity. On those functionalities, micro-grids can be created where each cell can compensate over- or underperformance of the neighbouring area.
Based on the principles of the emergent science of complexity, and the principles of the so-called sociothermodynamics and theory of urban living, our goal is focused in the development of a simulation tool for predicting tendencies and test hypothetical scenarios for the interplay of energy consumption, self-production and storage in a region.
In its first proof-of-concept version, it will provide:
1) How to create a sustainable, reliable network within a decentralized production and storage structure?
2) Can a cellular structure of micro-grids create (temporarily) independency?
3) What are the implications on efficiency caused by the micro-grids?
The alteration of the core business focus from "selling quantity" to "selling value added services" is predictable entailing a tremendous shift of business modelling in the electricity industry. An increased cooperation among all participants is necessary to achieve a stable, sustainable, economical, and performant network. On this ground, additional values of other players must be considered in the definition of a business model.
The challenge ahead is to develop a tool for defining sustainable, collaborative business. Therefore, this part elaborates a business modelling framework within a value network.
How define new business models under the changed business focus and the collaboration within a value network?
Prosumer Decision Making
Through the additional capabilities of production, consumption and storage, the consumer can actively participate in the electricity network. A consumer becomes a prosumer by managing its own electricity.Based on that it will represent its own interests entailing different motivations to come to a decision for buying or selling electricity. This research part aims to understand the basic decision-making behaviour and motivation based on being risk averse or risk seeking.
What is the decision behaviour of the new customer role; the prosumer?
The well-regulated Swiss electricity market is subject to far-reaching transitions towards an intelligent network. These include a shift of responsibility, as the consumer comes to play an active role in electricity management. While previous research suggests that the consumer acts according to rational choice or non-cooperative game theory, this is not a sufficient justification for consumer decision-making in a socio-techno-logical environment. To this end, this empirical research elaborates on the decision-making patterns supported by the technological change.
The findings suggest that to a certain extent, diffusion of decentralized generation and storage create new responsibilities for a micro trader apart from consumption. Central for trading is the "security of supply" value and any perceived gains and losses in the value outcome entails switching between risk-averse and risk-seeking behavior.
BEANS - Behaviour Analysis for Network Stability
New technologies, new notions of effectiveness in the Utility-sector and the political/societal call for sustainability leads to major shifts in the utility-landscape. New organizational forms of Smart Grids, like the "Crowd Energy", leads to more participation and decision-making-efforts for a multitude of energy-prosumers. Future energy-prosumers will generate, store, consume, sell, buy and share energy for different purposes, which implies on one hand fundamental knowledge about the decision-making-patterns of a multitude of individual prosumer-cells and on the other hand knowledge on the organizational architecture of a "Crowd Energy"-Community. The enlarged action and interaction spectrum leads to difficulties to forecast the network-stability.
The BEANS (Behaviour Analysis for Network Stability)- Project tries to find out which variables support and hinder
- sharing energy to the Crowd
- energy storing and
- buying/selling energy
By forecasting how energy prosumer will behave in different situations, BEANS will make a large contribution to the network-stability-forecast.
BEANS will be divided in three different parts: first, variables which influences the cooperation-, energy storage- and energy selling/buying-intention will be defined. Second, by analysing the individual as well as the community behaviour in an experiment, these variables will be tested and verified on their significance. By modeling and simulating a Crowd, we will test our model in a final stage.
The Chair and its research team publish every year academic papers and opinion pieces in a variety of journals, conference proceedings and industry publications. Please find below the list of publications.
Our University Courses
We provide Master-Courses on our research areas to our students. Find more information on the course-programme homepage of our Faculty.