Current projects

dena Leitstudie
The study aims at identifying the key challenges, solutions and next steps on Germanys way towards carbon-neutrality till 2050 with a specific focus on cross-sectoral approaches. Bremen Energy Research is tasked with the economic evaluation of different adaptations of the energy market design that shall secure the efficient transition of the energy sector and those sectors that make use of this energy, towards climate neutrality. In discussions with more than 70-partners from the energy sector as well as from other industries we identify the key challenges in the given energy market design that hamper decarbonization across different sectors and discuss different approaches to overcome these hurdles. The CO2 price, its future development, additional requirements for incentive schemes and the coordination of infrastructure development, from electricity, via gas and hydrogen towards consuming sectors like manufacturing or transportation, are at the heart of the debate.
Details on the project will soon be available at the dena website.

Project leader: Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena)
Project duration: 2020-2021
Contact: Gert Brunekreeft

dena "Blockchain Machine Identity Ledger“
On behalf of the German Energy Agency (dena) our team at Bremen Energy Research, together with the IT experts from OFFIS and lawyers from Ernst&Young, is responsible for the scientific evaluation of different blockchain-based solutions that aim at the integration of intelligent metering systems (smart meters) into a blockchain environment. The project is conducted in cooperation with 21 partners, including companies like SAP, EnBW and Deutsche Telekom and players in the digital sector or start-ups specialized in blockchain technology like the Energy Web Foundation. For details on the project take a look at the project website at the dena Future Energy Lab.

Project leader: Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena)
Project duration: 2020-2021
Contact: Marius Buchmann

Acatech, ESYS Arbeitsgruppe “Resilienz digitalisierter Energiesysteme”
Die Digitalisierung im Energiesystem schreitet schnell voran. Ohne Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologien ist die Energieversorgung, und hier insbesondere die Dezentralisierung, inzwischen undenkbar. Neben all den Chancen, die sich durch die zunehmende Digitalisierung ergeben birgt sie auch Risiken wie Manipulationen, Cyberangriffe oder fehlerhafte Anwendungen. Die Energieversorgung ist eine kritische Infrastruktur (KRITIS). Ein Blackout hätte daher weitreichende Folgen für die Gesellschaft. Der Anspruch lautet: Digitale Energieinfrastrukturen müssen sowohl sicher als auch sichernd sein. Das bedeutet, sie müssen sich selbst gegen Angriffe und Ausfälle verteidigen können und gleichzeitig das Gesamtsystem funktionsfähig halten. Wo liegen dabei die Chancen und Herausforderungen? Wer sind die Hauptakteure, welche Verantwortung tragen sie und welche Anreize haben sie zur Resilienz des digitalen Energiesystems beizutragen? Was muss auf Regulierungsebene passieren, um die Anreize effizient auszugestalten? Mit diesen Fragen setzt sich die ESYS-Arbeitsgruppe „Resilienz digitalisierter Energiesysteme“ unter der Leitung von Dr. Christoph Mayer (OFFIS) und Prof. Brunekreeft auseinander. External link.

Project leader: Acatech
Project duration: 2019-2021
Contact: Gert Brunekreeft

ARegV 3.0: Ideas for a forward-looking regulation of smart grids
The developments of Smart Grids alter the roles and responsibilities of distribution network operators (DNOs) and requires rethinking the regulatory framework, which in Germany is determined by the "Anreizregulierungsverordnung", in short "ARegV".
The most recent ARegV amendment offers additional incentives for network investments but lacks incentives for smartness. Thinking one step further, however, the question is how the conceptual development of regulation towards a future "ARegV 3.0" should look like. This research project analyses misaligned incentives for DNOs based on both a network model and a regulatory model and suggests further adjustments of the regulatory framework.

Project leader: Bremen Energy Research
Funding: Stiftung Energieforschung Baden-Württemberg
Project duration: 03/2019 - 02/2021
Contact: Roland Meyer

Resilient, integrated and system-beneficial urban energy supply systems for full integration of renewable energies – Research on regulatory aspects

QUARREE100 promotes the research and implementation of a future-proof energy supply using the example of the urban quarter "Rüsdorfer Kamp" in the German district town Heide, Schleswig-Holstein. The demonstration project is supported by the Federal Government as part of the funding program "Solares Bauen / Energieeffiziente Stadt".The team of “Bremen Energy Research” (BER) examines the regulatory issues regarding the implementation of inter-linked systems and self sufficiency concepts from an economic perspective.

Project leader: Entwicklungsagentur Region Heide; Institute for Advance Energy Systems (AES) of the University of Bremen
Funding: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi); Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)
Project duration: 11/2017 - 10/2022
Contact: Roland Meyer

Enera. The Next Big Step Towards a Sustainable World
Enera is a large demonstration project with 32 partners investing 175 million € into the model region in the north of Germany. The Bremen Energy Research group coordinates the regulatory analysis in enera. Overall, the goal is to develop an institutional design that enables the efficient facilitation of the energy transition and digitalization.

Project leader: EWE, Oldenburg
Funding: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi)
Project duration: 01/2017 - 12/2020
Contact: Marius Buchmann

Completed projects

01/2017 – 03/2019
German Energy Transition in the European Energy System

Model-based scenario analysis of developments in the German electricity system taking into account the European context until 2050.
Joint study with Öko-Institut & Eclareon, funded by BMWi . Assessment of the development of cross-border inter-connectors on the German electric borders and its impact on the development of the energy transition and the electricity supply industry in Germany. Within this project, the team of Jacobs University analyses the regulatory hurdles of inter-connector investments and the impacts of varying market designs in Europe (including capacity mechanisms) on the German electricity market.

01/2017 – 03/2018
Network Tariff Dynamics in View of Self Supply
Increasing self supply through photovoltaic systems and storage calls into question the existing system of network tariffs. Core components of the discussion are the "solidarity" of self supply in the community of network users (distribution effects) and the vicious circle of ever increasing self supply and rising (specific) costs (incentive distortion).
Using a model-based approach, this project simulates various adaptations of network tariff systems for synthetic networks and analyzes their incentive and distributional effects both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Project leader: Bremen Energy Research
Funding: Stiftung Energieforschung Baden-Württemberg
Project duration: 01/2017 - 03/2018
Contact: Christine Brandstätt

01/2017 – 12/2017
Die Ermittlung des technologischen Fortschritts anhand von Unternehmesdaten - Der Einsatz der Malmquist-Methode im deutschen Reguierungsrahmen
Joint study prepared for NetzeBW, Stuttgart.

In a joint research study, prepared for the German electricity distribution company NetzeBW, Polynomics and Jacobs University Bremen analyse the use of the Malmquist Index to calculate the general X-Factor (Xgen) for electricity distribution companies in the German regulatory framework. The Xgen needs to be calculated for the next regulatory period starting 2019; currently, the debate is about the method of calculation: Törnquist or Malmquist? In contrast to the Törnquist methodology which has been used by the federal regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) so far, the Malmquist Index applies benchmarking techniques to calculate the technical frontier shift from firm-level data. This avoids the aggregation and consistency problems of external data bases. The analysis shows that the strength of a cost-based Malmquist Index is that both components of Xgen – the changes in total factor productivity (ΔTFP) and input prices (Δw) – can be calculated jointly as a nominal efficient cost change. However, regulators often only have information on total cost (TOTEX) instead of separate input quantity and price data. In such a case only a TOTEX Malmquist Index can be applied, which may lead to distortions in some of the price scenarios analysed. Distortions arise If either allocative inefficiency of the firms in the sample changes over time or there are different groups of companies facing different input price changes.

Die Ermittlung des technologischen Fortschritts anhand von Unternehmensdaten – Der Einsatz der Malmquist-Methode im deutschen Regulierungsrahmen. Final Report, 2016
Stephan Vaterlaus, Yves Schneider, George Elias, Gert Brunekreeft, and Roland Meyer

XGEN in der Anreizregulierung: Was kann der Malmquist-Index?
Gert Brunekreeft and Stephan Vaterlaus
Energiewirtschaftliche Tagesfragen No. 26, March 2016


Studie zur Ausgestaltung eines Ausschreibungsmodells und der Untersuchung regulatorischer Abgrenzungsfragen für netzbetriebene Multi-Purpose-Speicher

Study prepared for EWE, Oldenburg.

Electricity storage systems currently appear to be economically viable only in the form of multi-use storage systems, which are used both for network purposes and to generate trading revenues on the electricity market. Due to the technical network requirements, the initiative for such a storage facility would usually originate from the network operator. However, is a legally unbundled distribution system operator (DSO) allowed to set up and operate such a storage facility itself if there is no cheaper market investor? The regulatory challenges lie above all in the unbundling rules, which prohibit direct trading activity. The three-step model outlined in this article shows how unbundling-compliant deployment and the operation of a DSO-owned storage can be achieved by means of tenders. Isses of potential discrimination and efficiency are addressed through the form of regulatory cost treatment: in order to ensure efficient incentives in both tenders, the bid price of the DSO should be decisive for cost allowance.

Regulatorische Herausforderungen für Multi-Use-Speicher in Stromverteilnetzen – ein Ausschreibungsmodell
Roland Meyer, Gert Brunekreeft, Martin Palovic und Daniel Speiser
Bremen Energy Working Papers No. 26, May 2017

Regulatorischer Umgang mit Multi-Use-Speichern in Stromverteilnetzen – Ein Drei-Stufen-Modell
Roland Meyer, Gert Brunekreeft, Martin Palovic und Daniel Speiser
ew–Das Magazin für die EnergiewirtschaftNr. 6, 2017, 51-53


Die 3. Periode ARegV: Xgen und die Energiewende
Study on the general X-Factor for electricity distribution companies in the face of energy transition.
The general X-Factor (Xgen) as part of price-based regulation aims to capture total factor productivity (TFP) of the network business and ensure a fair distribution of efficiency gains between network companies and consumers. The purpose of the research project was to identify and discuss the main challenges for the German regulator BNetzA of calculating TFP for the forthcoming third regulatory period starting in 2019.
The main conclusion is that the previous methodology and parameters may have worked fairly well in the past, but do not appear to provide adequate productivity indicators for the future. Given the fundamental structural changes of the energy transition, one should reconsider the “outputs” based on which the networks’ TFP is calculated.


Distribution Planning and Pricing in View of Increasing Shares of Intermittent, Renewable Energy in Germany and Japan
Joint study of Jacobs University Bremen and CRIEPI, Tokyo

The purpose of this research is to evaluate the impact of increasing shares of intermittent, renewable energy in distribution grids. Our research mainly relies on in-depth interviews with sector-experts from German utilities. We discuss both effects in network planning and challenges for network pricing. Overall, we have two main conclusions. First, the integration in network planning is well under way in Germany and Japan, but could easily be very costly. Second, changes in network pricing, such as a shift towards base charges, contributions from generators and/or differentiated charges solve most of the problems identified.

Distribution Planning and Pricing in View of Increasing Shares of Intermittent, Renewable Energy in Germany and Japan
Christine Brandstätt, Gert Brunekreeft, Ken Furusawa, and Toru Hattori
Bremen Energy Working Papers No. 20, March 2015


Collective non-linear dynamics of power networks (ConDyNet)
Joint research project on future decentralized power networks
The project analyzes the dynamics in newly arising complex, decentralized power networks. It is part of the initiative "futureproof networks" funded by the ministry for economic affairs and energy, and the ministry for education and research over a time span of 3 years. Together with Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Sefl-Organization, Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies and Jülich Research Center, we will model and simulate optimization options, critical network states and risk scenarios. The focus of Bremen Energy Research herein will be on the economic framework for such complex, decentralized networks; deploying agent-based computational economics to assess the influence of innovative pricing scenes on their operation and development.


dena Smart Meter Study
Implementation of Smart Meters in Germany

Joint research project on future decentralized power networks
The dena Smart Meter Study analyses the parameters influencing efficient and operative structuring of the rollout of intelligent meters and intelligent metering systems in Germany. In cooperation with eleven German electricity distribution grid operators or their affiliated metering station companies, this project focuses on expected specific costs and potential grid benefits depending on varying grid structures of the electricity distribution grid operators (micro-economic perspective). The authors from BER conducted the regulatory part of the study which critically assesses the financeability of the rollout, and analyses necessary regulatory adjustments as well as economic impacts on competition and consumers' interests.

Einführung von Smart Meter in Deutschland. Analyse von Rolloutszenarien und ihrer regulatorischen Implikationen. Final Report.


Unbundling of electricity transmission system operators in Germany – An experience report
Joint study of Jacobs University Bremen and CRIEPI, Tokyo

The purpose of this research is to evaluate the impact of vertical unbundling on German electric utilities. Our research mainly relies on in-depth interviews with sector-experts from the German utilities. We will discuss both short-term changes and the long-term impact on competition in the electricity market as well as the impact on costs and security of supply. Overall, we have two main conclusions. First, the major step in the unbundling process is from “lean legal unbundling” to “fat legal unbundling”; additional steps beyond that are small, both in benefits and in costs. Second, the benefits of unbundling in terms of increased competition do not come for free: unbundling is costly and it is important to balance cost and benefits in the reform process.

Unbundling of Electricity Transmission System Operators - An Experience Report
Gert Brunekreeft, Mika Goto, Roland Meyer, Masahiro Maruyama, and Toru Hattori
Bremen Energy Working Papers No. 16, March 2014


The Institutional Framework for Smart Grids in Austria
Joint Study of Bremer Energie Institut and WU Wien
The aim of the project was to identify the key areas within the institutional framework of the electricity sector in Austria where adaptation is required to support the development of smart grids. To address these adjustment requirements we analysed best practises in other countries. Based on these findings we defined 6 recommendations for the institutional framework in Austria. The recommendations address the following issues: Governance in Smart Systems (information management), Network Tariffs (flexible pricing), Efficient investment, IT infrastructure for data transport from smart meters, data management and non-discriminatory data access.

The results are now available at BMVIT Schriftenreihe nachhaltig wirtschaften 7/2014.
The results are now available at BMVIT Schriftenreihe nachhaltig wirtschaften 7/2014


Prices and contracts in the German wholesale gas market
Study for EnBW Trading GmbH, Karlsruhe
Over the past few months, Jacobs researches belonging to the BER group performed a study where gas-purchasing strategies of German utility companies were analyzed. Within this study, 250 German gas utilities were addressed with a questionnaire about their gas purchasing strategies, historical price data from the last six years were analyzed, as well as interviews with gas market brokers and market price publishing institutions were performed.

The study concludes that following the liberalization, gas utilities in Germany increasingly rely on the direct purchases at gas markets and on the gas market linked supply contracts. This development then provides utilities with a competitive advantage but also introduces them to risks unknown from the traditional sector organization.

Preis- und Vertragssituation im deutschen Gasmarkt. Final Report, 2013
Gert Brunekreeft, Christine Brandstätt, and Martin Palovic