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Demand response in the service sector - Theoretical, technical and practical potentials

: Wohlfarth, Katharina; Klobasa, Marian; Gutknecht, Ralph


Applied energy 258 (2020), Art. 114089, 26 pp.
ISSN: 0306-2619
ISSN: 1872-9118
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISI ()
demand response; service sector; flexibility potential; flexible appliances; Firm-level survey data

Flexible energy demand (demand response, DR) is seen as one solution to integrate intermittent renewable energy sources into future energy systems. We provide a comprehensive analysis of the DR potential of the service sector, using a transparent bottom-up approach, along with quantitative survey data from a large sample size of over 1500 German companies. This allows us to estimate the theoretical and technical potentials and to representatively quantify the willingness of the companies to participate in DR, determining the practical potential. We identified food retail as well as restaurants as most promising subsectors, based on the availability of flexible appliances and control technologies and their willingness to conduct automated DR. Taking cross-cutting flexible appliances in the subsectors offices, trade and hotels/restaurants into account, our estimations result in approximately 22 TWh of theoretical potential (~35% of total electricity consumption of the subsectors), 4 TWh of technical potential and 1 TWh of practical potential. Relevant barriers to DR are its perceived low priority and inadequate financial incentives due to a small share of energy costs within firms, whereas customer image of DR is perceived as an important driver. Knowledge of barriers and drivers is valuable for designing policies, which incorporate the needs of applicants and enable companies to participate in DR. Across European countries, the structure and share of electricity demand of the service sector is fairly comparable (with differences arising from climatic context); hence the insights derived here are in its main conclusions also relevant for the entirety of Europe.