Energy system models are widely used tools to illustrate possible paths of technically viable and economically efficient future developments in the energy field. Key variables in such models are "activity levels," demand variables essentially driving total energy consumption. These variables and related social practices are seldom explicitly modelled. The question under study is to quantify sufficiency practices and policies to reduce total energy demand.
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework programme "Research for Sustainable Development" (FONA) funds this research group as an interdisciplinary collaboration of engineering/modelling, social sciences and societal transformation research. The goal is to explicitly integrate societal changes, policy measures and their quantification into energy system modelling. Necessary assumptions are taken closely involving practice partners from society. The Wuppertal Institute is analysing barriers and potentials of energy sufficiency policies. Part of our work is the development of an “energy sufficiency module” that builds on policy analyses of other project partners and sets up a modelling framework for explicitly modelling key sufficiency-related parameters that can be further used in proper energy system models for scenario-building. This involves policy operationalisation and the translation of its effect on electricity, heat and transport services demand.
The last major project "Energy Sufficiency – Strategies and Instruments for a Technical, Systemic and Cultural Transition towards a Sustainable Limitation of Energy Consumption. Focus: Residential Buildings. Project Part 2: Governance and Appliances" on the issue analysed sufficiency actions and policies in the residential building field (also funded by the BMBF).