The master thesis “Energy Communities: Best Practices, Players and Business Models in Austria, Germany and Switzerland” looks at the key characteristics of business models in energy communities and compares them for the German-speaking countries. Here is the abstract:
Consumers are at the center of the energy transition from a centralized to a decentralized system with widely distributed resources connected to the grid. Both trends, the inclusion of renewables as well as the decentralization of the energy market shape the process of the transformation and are fundamental for the rise of energy communities. Energy communities are part of the energy transition and are outlined as a consumer-centric model and sustainable market design, not only allowing consumers to produce and consume energy at a household-level, but also trading with peers and perhaps even benefitting from cost savings. These market designs are essential for meeting net-zero targets outlined by the European Commission, but their efficacy can only be realized if energy communities are fully integrated as players in the energy market. This vision has been recognized in Europe, yet key stakeholders of energy communities have to be empowered as important enablers. Thus, this work studies energy communities and their accompanying practices including policymaking, commercial activity and the role of energy providers in the context of new business models. The research questions were answered by displaying best practices and key players of energy communities. This work is shedding light on the importance and the potential of energy communities and consumer-centric energy market designs, detailing best practices and business models for energy communities and energy providers alike, with a focused view on the German-speaking region (DACH).