Without timely countermeasures, southern Germany could experience a strain on its power supply in a few years. The reasons lie in declining production capacity as nuclear plants are shut down, the fluctuating feed-in of renewable energies and in the existing electricity market. In order to minimise the risk of shortages in supply, the main focus at the moment is on expanding the network and building additional production capacity, as well as contracting “cold reserve” power plants.
One option, which has until now received little attention, is the active steering of power demand. Such demand response could offer a clean and cost-effective way to cut peak load and to optimise the use of conventional power plants. In contrast to many theoretical economic appraisals in previous studies of its potential, this project undertook a concrete study of how and whether demand response of processes in industry and manufacturing could improve the security of supply in southern Germany and deal with temporary regional bottlenecks. Above all, the study gained insights into current barriers and the necessary incentives for a targeted steering of energy users. Recommendations were derived with a view to future energy markets, showing how an economically useful system of incentives should be developed to realise the potential of demand response.