Energy is an essential factor in everyday life. The transition to a decarbonized electricity system based on renewable energy sources, above all wind and photovoltaic, is at the top of political agendas worldwide. This transition comes along with far-reaching structural changes: Electricity generation will be much more decentralized and distributed across a large number of partly very small (co-)producers with different – partly unknown – decision calculi. Furthermore, electricity generation will be much more volatile, depending strongly on weather conditions that can change rapidly and are difficult to anticipate.
At the same time, economic rationales and instruments used in electricity markets are seriously flawed. Consumers’ electricity prices, mainly dominated by taxes and levies, fail in signaling scarcity for many stakeholders and the interventions of transmission system operators into the dispatch of power plants are a daily occurrence. Coping with these structural changes and the misleading economic incentives of today’s energy systems will become the real challenge of the energy transition. To master this challenge, fundamental research is needed not only in the fields of natural and engineering sciences but also, and above all, in business and economics.