Authors: Frondel, Manuel
Sommer, Stephan
Vance, Colin
Title: The burden of Germany’s energy transition
Other Titles: An empirical analysis of distributional effects
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: Germany’s energy transition has been accompanied by a near doubling of power prices for private households since the outset of the new millennium. Millions of poor households and those that are close to the poverty threshold are likely to suffer from these increases in electricity cost. Focusing on low-income households, this paper illustrates the distributional implications of Germany’s energy transition by investigating their electricity cost burden between 2006 and 2012, using panel data from the German Residential Energy Consumption Survey (GRECS). Our estimates suggest that in 2012, on average, households at poverty risk allocated 5.5% of their income to power and, hence, paid nearly as much for covering their electricity consumption as for heating purposes. Given Germany’s ambitious targets to expand the share of costly renewable technologies in electricity consumption to 50% in 2030, which has broad support among the electorate, it is to be expected that households’ expenditure for power will increase in the upcoming years. As it is likely that Germany continues its widely recognized energy policy, this raises the urgent question of how to mitigate the regressive impact of further increasing electricity prices on poor households. Direct cash transfers are suggested here as a non-distortionary instrument for easing the burden of high prices, one that is directly targeted at those endangered by energy poverty.
Subject Headings (RSWK): Deutschland
Issue Date: 2015
Appears in Collections:Sonderforschungsbereich (SFB) 823

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