Will Energy Infrastructure Systems in Germany Be More Decentralized in the Future? A Participatory Scenario Process
Decentralized power generation is gaining significance in liberalized electricity markets. This paper explores the future development of the German energy infrastructure systems with regard to decentralization. Four scenarios have been developed using a participatory multiple-scenario approach. Stakeholders involved in production, consumption, and governance were involved. The results of the study show that the key factor driving the future decentralization of the energy infrastructure system is not technological development. In fact, the economic and political boundary conditions are decisive. It is shown that a scenario-based approach provides substantiated insights into the energy future. The methodology employed is presented, followed by a detailed description of each of the four scenarios. The developed scenarios differ in the share of decentralized energy supply and therefore both structurally and technologically. Based on the historic development, it is analysed whether the trends and developments of the four scenarios are already becoming apparent today.