In order to take effective energy policy measures, politicians require science-based, reliable and neutral information on which to base their decisions. To be effective, such decision bases must include both current technologies and technologies that are still in development and must furthermore comprehensively analyse their potential and future effects in the energy system. Recommendations for political action can then be derived from said analysis.
Both national and state policy decision-makers rely on ZSW’s expertise. The Climate Protection Act passed by the State Government of Baden-Wuerttemberg in 2012, for instance, is based on a ZSW study which focused on the development of the Baden-Wuerttemberg Energy Scenario for 2050.
Another report commissioned by the State Ministry of the Environment focused on the expected economic effects of the Climate Protection Act. The Baden-Wuerttemberg Energy Scenario for 2050, which was developed by ZSW, also serves as a basis for strategic expansion for the distribution network in Baden-Wuerttemberg.
The evaluation of economic effects based on technically-oriented potential analyses, feasibility studies and scenarios is an important part of ZSW’s work which focuses, for instance, on changes in value chain structures and employment effects due to the energy transition. However, the methods developed by the institute are not limited to evaluating the situation in Germany and Europe: Among other projects, ZSW scientists were assessing the potential economic impact of establishing vertically integrated photovoltaic production in the Brazilian State of Paraná in a project coordinated by Solar Cluster Baden-Württemberg in summer 2015. The study provided local decision makers with an important basis for their subsequent decisions.
ZSW’s P2IONEER computer model (Power Plant Integration and Optimisation of climate Neutral Energy Resources), which allows for the simulation and optimisation of virtual combined power plants, is another helpful decision-making aid. The model simulates energy-independent regions with up to 100% renewable energy penetration and optimises costs in the generation mix.