Work Package 1 (2016)
The increasing decentralization tendency is empowering consumers to generate their own electricity and consequently to reduce their energy demand from the grid. Besides self-consumption of locally produced electricity within one household - so called prosumers - also more advanced concepts that integrate multiple consumers have been developed. This new trend poses a threat to utilities with a centralized business model for selling and distributing electricity.
This project contributes to an improved understanding of the deployment dynamics of “prosumer communities”, based on a case study in Switzerland and gives insights on business opportunities for electric utilities in managing this transition challenge. This study addresses the following questions: Which factors influence the diffusion of prosumer communities? How do prosumer communities affect the traditional centralized business models of utilities and how should these utilities adapt their business model in order to maintain their competitiveness?
This work makes use of the modelling platform TREES (Transition of Regional Energy Systems) to answer the research questions. The TREES-model is adapted to simulate the specific problematic of the studied region, in order to analyze the actual added value of a new business model. Additionally, with the help of a cockpit different scenarios can be tested in a virtual lab. The TREES-model as well as the cockpit can be customized to different regions to investigate their specific questions regarding the decentralization dynamics in their area.