LIFE Research Area

Renewable Energies and Innovative Business Models

New forms of organisation, technologies, and business models are required to deal with the coming rapid expansion of renewable energy and decentralisation of the energy system. In addition, the stronger involvement of citizens is also of high relevance.

Our research in this field addresses all such issues in order to develop replicable solutions.

Alpine Wind Power and PV. Credit: JOANNEUM RESEARCH/Marx

Microeconomics plus Macroeconomics

In assessing decentralised energy systems a microeconomic  model developed by JOANNEUM RESEARCH is used to evaluate specific economic indicators, e.g. net present value or the internal rate of return. This draws on technical data such as consumption/production profiles and storage/flexibility capacities. This model is also able to take account of regulatory conditions concerning market participation and of the need for annual economic optimisation across different electricity markets. Such modelling results in an overall economic assessment of decentralised energy systems, e.g., energy communities.

As part of macroeconomic analysis, econometric methods are employed to identify the impact of energy policy options on different population groups. One such impact, for example, relates to questions of energy poverty.

Current Research 

Logo EU-Projekt X-FLEX

The project X-Flex proposes a set of efficient, cost-effective, integrated solutions, that will facilitate the optimum combination of decentralised flexibility assets, both on the generation (DER) side and on the demand side (V2G, power-to-heat/cold/gas, batteries, demand response), enabling all parties, including final prosumers, to offer their flexibility in the market creating benefits to all the actors in the smart grid value chain.

Logo FFG-Projekt ThermaFLEX

Already today, every fourth house in Austria is supplied via heating networks - the aim of the ThermaFLEX lead project is to make them more flexible. A consistent integration of renewable energies and waste heat into the heating networks of the future would not only improve the air in the cities, but would also avoid considerable CO2 emissions, increase security of supply and protect consumers from rising oil and gas prices in the long term.


Logo HORIZON2020-Projekt EXCESS

EXCESS - FleXible user-CEntric Energy poSitive houseS – brings together 21 partners from 8 countries to showcase how nearly-zero energy buildings can be transformed into positive energy buildings. Funded by the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme over a 4-year period, EXCESS will spearhead four innovative demonstration projects, introducing technical solutions that enable buildings to produce more renewable energy than they consume over the course of a year. By implementing demonstration projects that span across the Nordic, Continental, Oceanic and Mediterranean climate zones, EXCESS seeks to test, validate and share PEB solutions with potential replicability across Europe.

Logo H2020-Projekt COMPILE

The H2020 project COMPILE brings together 12 international partners from 7 European countries. The Project features 5 pilot sites in 5 European countries reviewed by international partners from India and China. The main aim of COMPILE is to show the opportunities of energy islands for decarbonisation of energy supply, community building and creating environmental and socioeconomic benefits.

Policy Analysis and Advice for Renewable Energies

The forced expansion of renewable energies is a key item on the European and Austrian climate policy agenda. The relevant directives and laws are currently being discussed and implemented to expedite such expansion. We continue to observe the discourse dynamics and to prepare specific elements in order that market participants may act prospectively.

Current Research

Organisational Models for Renewable Energies

Energy communities are organisational forms provided for by EU legislation. They enable new actors, e.g., private households, to become active in the energy sector. Austria is creating a corresponding initial framework with the Renewable Energy Expansion Act (EAG) and related amendments to the law.

As early as 2017, the introduction of community generation plants created a new opportunity for local energy generation. An understanding of regulatory opportunities and limits is highly relevant for the development of business models and new value-added chains.

For an overview of the individual steps and possible measures on the way towards sustainable energy communities, see the 'Green Technology Radar'. This was developed by LIFE Institute on behalf of the Green Tech Cluster

Digitalisation of Distributed Energy Systems

The increasing digitalisation of the energy sector is generating ever more streams of new data and results in new technical and economic opportunities. We address such issues in our research, e.g. the introduction of smart meters, or the application of smart home solutions. In addition, digitalisation is becoming increasingly relevant with regard to facilitating more comprehensive management of the energy system, as seen, for example, in electricity grid load management and the corresponding embedding of decentralised production and consumption. Further fields of application concern local control and business processes, such as local electricity trading in energy communities.

Supply and Demand Forecasts


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Researching future challenges in power grids

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