Schuler, J. et al.When green electricity leads to more energy consumption

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Johannes Schuler, Elisabeth Dütschke, Axel Burger & Julika Weiß

Release date:

Renewable energies 05/2019, pp. 26–27

Besides the transition to renewable energies and less greenhouse gas emissions, climate policy also entails lower energy consumption. Politicians are betting that energy consumption in society can be reduced with more energy-efficient technology. However, usually the actual savings are not nearly as large as technically expected. This phenomenon is known as the rebound effect.

When converting to renewable energies, possible consequences for consumer behavior are quite complex. Current research suggests that the transition to renewable energy can also result in long-term behavioral adjustments that are associated with increased consumption of energy and resources. However, this does not always have to be the case: Recent data show that green electricity consumers sometimes also consume less electricity after they have changed providers. The article argues that it is therefore fundamental not to consider a change in behavior by consumers in isolation, but always to consider the effects on subsequent behavior. This applies in particular to the design of political measures, such as incentives or taxes in the energy sector, in order to minimize undesirable rebound effects.

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