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Technology, Policy or Market – How to Support the Energy Transition?

When May 09, 2019
from 03:00 PM to 04:00 PM
Where David Attenborough Building, Room 2.49
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Speaker: Prof. Volker Hoffmann, Sustainability and Technology, ETH Zurich

In many countries around the world, renewable energies have been on the rise, mostly due to a significant support by public
policies such as feed-in tariffs. While these policies have often been successful in bringing renewable electricity to the market, the integration of growing shares of renewables starts to challenge existing electricity systems due to abrupt system-wide load
changes. Battery storage might be a solution as it supports the reliability of the electricity system, but may elevate costs and trigger a redistribution of utilities’ grid-costs towards low-income households. In this talk, we use agent-based models to assess the efficiency of policy support for solar photovoltaics in several European countries and also simulate the effects of different policy scenarios on California’s residential solar-plus-storage market. With these models, we hope to contribute to a more systematic and nuanced understanding of how policy makers can support low carbon technologies to diffuse into the market in an effective and efficient way.

Volker Hoffmann is Professor for Sustainability and Technology and the former Head of the Department of Management, Technology, and Economics of ETH Zurich. His research at ETH Zurich centers on innovation in the energy sector, with studies analyzing, among others, innovation effects of renewable energy policies, corporate strategies towards changing the energy sector, and the profitability of new technologies.
Before joining the faculty of ETH Zurich, Volker was a project manager at McKinsey & Company where he worked in the
chemical and electricity industry. He focused on strategy development and investment analysis for European utility
companies, especially in the light of greenhouse gas regulations and renewable energies. Equipped with degrees in chemical
engineering and in business administration, he obtained his Ph.D. from ETH Zurich with a thesis on multi-objective decision making under uncertainty. He also was a visiting scholar at MIT where he investigated uncertainty propagation in large scale process models for the chemical industry.