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Transition of regional energy systems

Switzerland is facing an energy transition, entailing a shift from centralized to decentralized power generation. With the simulation platform “TREES”, decentralization dynamics and value creation within the Swiss energy system are analyzed from a regional perspective.

This research stream has grown out of the SCCER CREST in 2014. For the analysis of socio-technical transitions, the technological innovation system perspective (TIS) and System Dynamics modelling is applied.

The objectives of this project are

  • to identify and better understand the dynamics of future value propositions of socio-technical designs in decentralized regional energy systems (e.g. distributed generation and self-consumption concepts with variants of smart grid solutions and integrated energy systems);
  • to advance the decision support tool for transition management of regional energy systems (TREES). 

In order to achieve these goals it is studied,

  • which policies, institutions and firm strategies facilitate the integration of a larger share of "new" renewable into the Swiss energy system;
  • which regional and firm-level strategies support the diffusion of novel solutions, such as distributed generation, self-consumption, local and regional storage or regional load management, integrated energy systems as well as e-mobility;
  • which transition pathways of the Swiss energy system are consistent with planned policies and expected market developments such as the Digitalization of the Energy System.

The economic and ecological contribution regional development strategies and the specifics of contextual factors for the energy transition towards increased renewable energy are assessed.

The costs and impacts of the most promising system design (e.g. self-consumption communities with and without storage) and business models will be assessed with the simulation platform TREES applying virtual scenario and strategy experiments.
Project specific case studies are conducted with practitioners in participative workshops, and the simulation tool is applied in demonstrators of technical SCCERs such as the Arbon Demonstrator or other projects as listed below.


At a glance

Participating institutes and centres:

Project Partners:

  • University of Basel , ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences, University of St. Gallen , ETH Zurich, University of Geneva, University of Neuchâtel, University of Lucerne, EPFL Lausanne

Project Webpage:


Project lead:

Project staff:



  • Phase I: completed (2014 - 2016)
  • Phase II:  2017 – 2020