Future of Fossil Fuels in the wake of greenhouse gas neutrality (FFF)

Department(s)/ Research Infrastructure
Energy, Transportation, Environment
Project Status
Current Project
Project Duration
since/from 2018 to 2021
Funded by
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
In Cooperation with
Technische Universität Berlin,
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) e. V.
Project Manager
Dr. Wolf-Peter Schill
Project Team/Contacts at DIW Berlin

The objective of this project is to investigate previously under-researched aspects of decarbonizing the German electricity sector in the European context, and to derive an assessment of concrete policy instruments for both the German and the European level. In doing so, we do not only focus on coal, but on all fossil fuels, particularly on natural gas. Trans- and interdisciplinary approaches shall allow for a better understanding of the different economic and technical as well as social and political challenges of the upcoming fossil fuel phase-out in Europe. The research project combines different methodological approaches (numerical modeling, economic theory, econometrics, and political economy) with hands-on questions of current political decision making. We also interact with several German and European stakeholders. The analyses focus on three aspects of the future of fossil fuels by

  1. identifying the drivers and hurdles for implementing a European fossil fuel phase-out by 2050;
  2. investigating how national pathways for phasing out fossil fuels interact with European climate policies; and
  3. analyzing the interactions between a fossil fuel phase-out, increasing power system flexibility requirements, and extended sector coupling. The work carried out at DIW Berlin will focus on the third aspect.