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FCN in the Kopernikus project “ENSURE 2 − New Network Structures for the Energiewende – Phase 2"

The energy transition requires many adjustments and, in some cases, a complete rethinking of the energy infrastructure. The Kopernikus project ENSURE is investigating new solutions for three phases, including a demonstration in the so-called “Energiekosmos.” The special feature of ENSURE is that the approaches are not only investigated from a technical perspective but instead holistically also, considering social and economic aspects, involving both actors from industry and research.

In the second phase, the FCN is investigating several issues in this context. First, in phase 1, flexibility (e.g., using heat pumps or charging electric vehicles) was identified as an important element for grid relief. In phase 2, we are now investigating the conditions under which private households would allow external service providers to adjust their schedules. Initial results indicate that there are different customer groups. Some customers basically do not want to be inconvenienced by interventions in their charging behaviour, while others can well imagine doing so in exchange for reductions in energy costs. Particularly important in the latter case seems to be transparency, e.g., through an app, and the possibility of influencing the charging process, e.g., through an "instant charge" button.

Second, the technological diffusion of energy transition technologies is investigated. The focus here is on which hurdles, for example, stand in the way of a more rapid spread of smart grid applications or which subsidies best support the spread of electric vehicles.

Furthermore, a macroeconomic evaluation of different energy transition scenarios is carried out. The focus is on the question of whether other energy transition paths are economically optimal for a municipality or region than for society as a whole. This could be the case, for example, if a particularly decentralized design of the energy transition causes somewhat higher costs for society as a whole, but many local craft enterprises and investors can be involved, which would significantly increase local value creation.

Finally, a comparison is made between battery-electric and hydrogen-based mobility. Acceptance, economic and ecological aspects are considered. One focus is, of course, on energy grids, with the question of whether a hydrogen grid could be more cost-effective at high utilization rates than expansions to the electricity grid to provide the additional energy required for mobility.


  • Wohlan L., Madlener R., Specht J.M. (2021). A Real Options Analysis of the Siting and Cost-Efficient Layout of Charging Infrastructure for Fuel Cell and Battery Electric Vehicles, FCN Working Paper No. 15/2021, Institute for Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior, RWTH Aachen University, December.
  • Specht J.M., Fabianek P., Madlener R. (2022). Vergleich von Wasserstoff- und Elektromobilität: Technische, ökonomische, soziale und ökologische Aspekte, Institute for Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior, RWTH Aachen University, September. [pdf, 1,910 kB]