19 Feb 2024, 13:47
Benjamin Wehrmann

Potential of decentralised “prosumers” greatly underused in German power system – industry

Clean Energy Wire

The potential of so-called prosumers in Germany’s energy transition should be exploited more to reduce costs and increase the system's stability, the Federation of German Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) said. More than half of Germany’s electricity production occurs at decentralised installations and companies. Private households can participate in the power system not only as consumers but also as producers of clean energy, the lobby group said. Technological improvements, such as the wide application of home battery systems, the spread of electric vehicles, heat pumps, and other systems would greatly improve the public’s potential to act as “prosumers” who participate in the power supply. This potential “is hardly being realised, given today’s legal and regulatory framework”, said BDEW head Kerstin Andreae. The energy industry lobby group identified a set of urgent changes needed to better integrate prosumers in the market, including a faster roll-out of smart meters, more storage units and so-called sector coupling technologies. The regulation of small-scale operators who individually supply only limited quantities of electricity should be cut to reduce the hurdles for market participation, Andreae argued. A possible solution would be “collective own-use” options in line with European law that allow prosumers to band together to form larger production units, which could greatly spur participation, she said.  

A better integration of small renewable installations in the German electricity market has been debated for years, with a lack of adequate grid connections being one major obstacle. The popularity of roof-mounted solar PV installations and home batteries has spiked in Germany in the past years, with the energy crisis seen as a trigger for citizens seeking to better shield themselves from price hikes.

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