ZIN-member Prof. Löschel and NRW Economics Minister launch Virtual Institute for Smart Energy (VISE)

Professor Löschel named as economic director of “VISE”

© Lehrstuhl Prof. Löschel

The energy demand of private households, flexible energy supply through virtual power plants and smart technologies for companies – these will be research topics of the newly founded “Virtual Institute Smart Energy” (VISE) under the lead of the University of Münster (WWU) and the University of Applied Sciences Cologne (TH Köln).  Companies and research institutions will be able to jointly analyze technical and economic questions of the digital energy transition and to develop new projects and products via the VISE.

The virtual institute will act as a central research platform and is supported by the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRE.NRW). The VISE was founded following an initiative of the NRW-Ministry for Economics, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy. “Chances for new business models, services and innovative product that could spread far beyond North Rhine-Westphalia might emerge from this project” Economics Minster Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart pointed out. “North Rhine-Westphalia could take a leading position in the process of digital transformation – the region is leading in the energy and industry sector and an excellent research location”.

Acting as a network for companies and institutions, the VISE will collect and convey knowledge in the field of Smart Energy. Moreover the institute will conduct its own hands-on research projects. Start-Ups, IT-suppliers, local communities, energy suppliers and research institutions can access the VISE’s new findings and connect with potential partners via the institute.

The first research projects will inter alia analyze the application of smart technologies in households and medium-sized enterprises and test existing applications with their users. Another research project tries to find ways to connect energy suppliers, storages and consumers in order to create a virtual power plant. All those topics are analyzed from a technical, an economic and a social-economic perspective.

“Digitalizing the energy sector is key to a flexibilization and reduction of energy consumption of households and companies. From an economic point of view, a main challenge is to find the most successful business model in a digitalized energy sector and to shape an appropriate regulatory framework”, according to Prof. Löschel, professor at the University of Münster and economic director of the VISE.

“There already is a wide range of smart technologies, but so far we are lacking experience in their application on the energy market. The wide variety of options is reflected in the various partners of the VISE. Together, we want to exchange knowledge and develop practical solutions”, explained the technical director, Prof. Dr. Thorsten Schneiders of TH Cologne.

Besides the University of Münster and the TH Cologne, the universities of Wuppertal, Duisburg-Essen, the research center Jülich, ewi Energy Research & Scenarios gGmbH and the Wuppertal Insitute have joined the research consortium so far. Scientific institutions, representatives of local communities and companies from NRW are invited to engage in the VISE. They can contact the VISE at  info@smart-energy.nrw

Press release of the University of Münster can be accessed here.

[Copyright: Homepage of the Chair of Microeconomics with a Focus on Energy and Resource Economics, University of Muenster]

[Picture: Chair Prof. Löschel]