Electricity decarbonization

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To avoid dangerous climate change it is imperative that developed countries must completely decarbonize their electric power sectors by mid-century, and developing countries do so soon thereafter. At the same time, it is likely to be the case that electricity play a larger role in the overall energy system, such as with respect to road transportation. Efforts to decarbonize the electricity sector, in Switzerland and beyond, will almost certainly include heavy reliance on renewable energy sources, and could include complete reliance. Policy-makers face the choice between many different renewables pathways, however, with different potential combinations of technologies, at scales ranging from the very local to intercontinental power systems, and these have different social, economic, and environmental consequences. Policy-makers also face the choice between different policy instruments, the specific laws and regulations that influence investment patterns and behaviors. At CP, we engage in scientific research and analysis to clarify the advantages and drawbacks of the different pathways and instruments.

Within this research focus, we have received grants for a number of externally funded projects.

  • Social challenges of trans-Mediterranean renewable power cooperation (European Research Council), which investigates the governance options for reaching very high shares of renewable electricity in a European-North African power system, as well as social consequences of achieving this.
  • INSPIRE-Grid (European Framework Program 7), which searches new ways to increase participation and facilitate accelerated and low-conflict transmission grid expansion to support renewable electricity in Europe.
  • New Risks (Swiss National Funds), which examines how intermittency, grid breakdowns, foreign relations and landscape conservation could threaten Switzerland’s ability to keep the lights on in the medium-term.
  • TRANSrisk (Horizon 2020), which examines the economic and environmental risks associated with different policy pathways towards energy system decarbonization
  • The transition to a renewable electricity system and its interactions with other policy aims (TRIPOD), funded by the European Research Council (ERC), which investigates how the prospects of a transition to a fully renewable power system in Europe would be affected by the energy policy processes of reducing electricity demand, creating a single, liberalised European power market and a borderless European power system, and seeks to develop policy solutions where aims are found to be in conflict.


  • Prof. Dr. Anthony Patt
  • Kerstin Damerau
  • Anna Geddes
  • Susanne Hanger
  • Dr. Nadejda Komendantova-Amann
  • Merce Labordena
  • Dr. Johan Lilliestam
  • Stefan Pfenninger
  • Paula Diaz Redondo
  • Leonhard Späth
  • Dr. Oscar van Vliet
Page URL: http://www.cp.ethz.ch/research/edc.html
Wed Jul 26 21:56:10 CEST 2017
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