New Study: Empowering Local Electricity Markets

Empower brochure cover foto

New Study: Empowering Local Electricity Markets

A survey study from Switzerland, Norway, Spain and Germany

Greater integration of renewable energy sources constitutes a key priority for successfully achieving agreed-upon climate goal targets. Nuclear phase out, decentralization of supply, liberalization, digital technological innovations, and the sharing economy are only some of the key issues that the energy industry is facing in the coming decade. Notwithstanding some of the associated challenges, a number of tremendous opportunities are also arising, and success can be achieved by introducing radically new business models. We are entering a period of so-called ‘platform revolution’: Platforms connect buyers and sellers in a virtual marketplace. Given the successful growth of platforms like Uber and Airbnb, it is difficult to ignore their disruptive potential for incumbent industries. This study uncovers the drivers of and barriers to developing platform solutions in the electricity market, notably ‘local electricity markets’. In local electricity markets, customers are empowered. They are connected through platforms. They actively participate in the marketplace by selling excess electricity that is produced locally using their own renewable sources, and by buying electricity that is locally produced. Consumers thus have the opportunity not only to consume, but also to produce electricity and to sell it in local markets, thereby, becoming prosumers! Local electricity markets constitute one of the most radical transformations, as they involve integrating renewable energy and selling it at the source. The agenda for empowering consumers and prosumers in such a local marketplace is long and challenging. It requires an adjustment of product and service offerings to better reflect existing and prospective consumer and prosumer needs. Putting existing and prospective consumers and prosumers center-stage is a critical step, if local electricity markets are to be a successful, forward-looking and sustainable solution. We firmly believe that the insights gained from this survey - which was conducted in four countries (Switzerland, Norway, Spain and Germany) - can be shared and acted upon by industry participants, consultants and citizens. The study was conducted by team members of the University of St. Gallen’s Good Energies Chair for Management of renewable energies, within the scope of the EU Horizon 2020 EMPOWER project (www.empowerh2020.eu).

The Diploma in Sustainable Business, offered jointly by University of St. Gallen and Business School Lausanne, launches an additional intake in February 2018. Until now, students could start the program only once a year, in October, and the new intake will open more class seats for participants willing to enroll in February.

The Diploma in Sustainable Business is a part-time program for experienced professionals interested in sustainability management and consulting. Organized in small classes of up to 18 participants, the program offers holistic training including in-depth understanding of sustainability challenges, a practical application of know-how and skills through a consulting project, as well as a strong leadership track. The objective of the program is to enable participants to design solutions and offer consulting related to key sustainability issues in the business context.

As part of the program, participants work on a team consulting project which serves as a stepping stone in their preparation as business sustainability professionals. Consulting projects are given by organizations based in Switzerland and include a wide range of strategically relevant challenges in product development, purchasing, supply chain, market analysis, labelling, employer branding, and communications. The 2017 works on projects offered by IKEA, Losinger Marazzi, Eaternity, and LafargeHolcim.

The Diploma in Sustainable Business is ideal for participants and professionals looking to establish themselves as specialists in the field of sustainability and its application to business. Candidates must have at least 5 years professional experience and a strong interest in sustainability.

You can learn more about the program here and apply here.