Private households as key actors of the Energiewende: Recommendations for a social-ecological oriented policy approach


Project duration: 4/2013 – 6/2016
Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Reference number: 01 UN 1209A) in cooperation with project partners GWS (Gesellschaft für Wirtschaftliche Strukturforschung mbH, Osnabrück) and IÖW (Institut für ökologische Wirtschaftsforschung gGmbH, Berlin).Project homepage:

  Logo (Source: Own illustration/ project logo)

In this project we analyze private households in their joint roles as electricity producers and consumers (“Prosumers”) as possible key actors in the energy transition towards a decentralized energy market based on renewable energies. We take into account the constraints, needs and behaviors of households in their diversity as well as environmental and econometric trade-offs between the micro- and macroeconomic level. Based on our findings, recommendations will be formulated that should contribute to designing the policy framework for a social-ecological transition of the energy systems.

In order to evaluate the potential of Prosumers for the transition process as well as for the future energy system, we will conduct an empirical investigation on the new role and functions of private households for the energy system. The interaction between different energy relevant issues and their effects on the behavior of private households is also analyzed. The objective is an empirical validation and extension of energy economic models used for simulating the residential sector with regard to a high share of decentralized energy supply.


Project publications

Gährs S, Aretz A, Flaute M, Oberst C A, Großmann A, Lutz C, Bargende D, Hirschl B, Madlener R (2016): Prosumer-Haushalte: Handlungsempfehlungen für eine sozial-ökologische und systemdienliche Förderpolitik, Berlin, [Download]

Madlener R, Oberst C A, Hirschl B, Gährs S, Bost M, Flaute M, Nieters A, Großmann A, Lutz Christian (2015). Prosumer-Haushalte: Private Haushalte als neue Schlüsselaktuere einer Transformation des Energiesystems. Beitrag zur BMBF-Statuskonferenz Energietransformation, BMBF-Fördermaßnahme Umwelt- und gesellschaftsverträgliche Transformation des Energiesystems, September 2015, Bonn, S. 149 – 154. [Download]

Oberst C. A., Madlener R. (2014). Prosumer Preferences Regarding the Adoption of Micro-Generation Technologies: Empirical Evidence for German Homeowners, FCN Working Paper No. 22/2014, Institute for Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior, RWTH Aachen University, December (revised September 2015). [Download]

Bargende D., Oberst C. A., Madlener R. (2017): Prosumer Households as potential System Service Providers. FCN Working Paper (in Prep.).

Oberst C.A., Schmitz H., Madlener R. (2019). Are Prosumer Households That Much Different? Evidence from Stated Residential Energy Consumption in Germany. Ecological Economics, 158: 101-115. [ScienceDirect]

Supervised student research

Roland Walden (2014). Local Energy Cluster of Private Households: Development of an Economic Model to Evaluate the Participation of Private Households in an Energy Cluster, master thesis, Chair of Energy Economics and Management, Faculty of Business and Economics, RWTH Aachen University.

Daniel Bargende (2014). The Potential Role of Prosumer Households as Electricity Ancillary Service Providers, bachelor thesis, Chair of Energy Economics and Management, Faculty of Business and Economics, RWTH Aachen University.

Martin Andreas Schramm (2014). Entwicklungsoptionen innovativer Geschäftsmodelle zur Beteiligung von Privathaushalten an der Energiewende, bachelor thesis, Chair of Energy Economics and Management, Faculty of Business and Economics, RWTH Aachen University.



Reinhard Madlener

Institutsleiter FCN


+49 241 80 49820