Institut für Politikwissenschaft der Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Scharnhorststr. 100 48151 Münster
Tel: +49 251 83-25327
Fax: +49 251 83-25383


Transpose - Research Program

The consumption of electricity is continuously increasing in German households. This development has consequences for the environment and supply guarantee. Research findings have shown that there is much potential for saving electricity in households. Yet, why are these possibilities so rarely considered seriously? Are the consumers acting irrationally? Do they not care about the climate? Aren't they aware of electricity saving potentialities?

This research project assumes that there are a number of barriers, complicating the way in which rationally acting consumers can economically and efficiently deal with electricity. So far, these barriers have only inadequately been discussed and examined. However, there are many useful options available to the consumer, in order to benefit from efficiency potentialities — i.e. informative electricity bills, internet-based tools adverting to the most energy efficient appliances or neighborhood initiatives for saving electricity. Also, on the consumer environment level (electricity suppliers, appliance manufacturers, retail, etc.), policy instruments, such as White Certificate Trading, adjusting performance standards to the so-called “top runners“ or manufacturer-consumer dialogues, can help develop a promising framework for electricity saving behavior. Still, which of these options is the most effective? One common approach is to search for “good practices“ in other countries. By doing so, a lower electricity consumption often leads to the adoption of instruments, too hastily, just as the premature idea of simply assigning these instruments to different national contexts.

TRANSPOSE questions both of these assumptions. When evaluating electricity consumption, other relevant aspects such as economic growth and the size of households should be considered. Whether a specific political decision has an actual effect on the electricity consumption, or not, has to be evaluated, empirically.

The same empirical requirements apply to the transfer conditions to Germany: Approaches, which turn out to be successful in Japan or Australia, are perhaps only successful due to country-specific characteristics — which can range from cultural aspects, over the structure of the energy markets, to particular administrational structures. Before continuing, it should be evaluated whether the same policy would be as successful in Germany. Based on these findings, certain adjustments may have to be made when trying to transfer the successful policies to Germany.

From the empirical results in these sectors TRANSPOSE develops political strategies to facilitate sustainable consumption in Germany. In doing so, the purchase of products as well as their usage shall be considered. After all, the ambition of TRANSPOSE is to initiate a political process together with the stakeholders, which increases the probability of implementing the recommended strategies (transfer catalysis).

From identifying the most relevant potential savings to the final transfer catalysis, the project partners of TRANSPOSE act upon four steps:

  • framework analysis: identifying electricity saving potentials, working out a portfolio of policy instruments, locating price elasticity (see work package 1, 2, 3)
  • deduction and identification of effective policy instruments: developing an integrated psycho-sociological action model conducting a quantitative policy-analysis by means of country comparison (see work package 4 and 5)
  • micro funding: conducting qualitative case studies for reconstructing the effects of policy instruments (work package 6)
  • transfer conditions and policy import: Bringing policy innovations into German Politics (work package 7 and 8)
Institut für Politikwissenschaft der Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Scharnhorststr. 100
· 48151 Münster
Tel: +49 251 83-25327 · Fax: +49 251 83-25383