Essays on Energy Economics and Consumer Preferences

This cumulative dissertation deals with consumers’ preferences for renewable energy (RE) in general and German consumers’ preferences for time-of-use (TOU) tariffs, as a demand side measure to enable a better handling of integrating electricity produced from volatile RE. The first paper (co-authored by Katrin Rehdanz) provides a meta-analysis, meta-regression and an ensuing value transfer on stated preference studies estimating consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for renewable energy. The second paper (co-authored by Katrin Rehdanz and Jürgen Meyerhoff) presents a choice experiment (CE) conducted in Germany on TOU tariffs, that differ by their peak time schedule and external control of certain appliances during peak times. The third paper performs a factor analysis on consumers’ attitudes towards TOU tariffs and uses the obtained factors to explain German consumers’ stated willingness to choose a TOU tariff.

Overall, this dissertation shows that while WTP for RE is consistently positive preferences for TOU tariffs as a measure to integrate RE more efficiently into the electricity grid are heterogeneous. A significant share of this heterogeneity can be explained by consumers’ attitudes towards TOU tariffs. These attitudes strongly depend on expectations about environmental and financial benefits and costs of TOU tariffs. Decision makers should, therefore, focus on informing consumers about real costs and benefits of TOU tariffs to increase their acceptability. However, decision makers effort remains ineffective as long as smart meter roll-out, which is necessary to implement these kinds of TOU tariffs, in Germany remains on its current level.


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