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April: Patrick Jochem (DLR)

Patrick Jochem has headed the Department of Energy Systems Analysis at the Institute of Networked Energy Systems at the German Aerospace Center (DLR-VE) since 2020 and has been an adjunct professor at the Institute for Industrial Production at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT-IIP) since March 2024. He completed his doctorate at the University of Karlsruhe in the field of transportation economics and habilitated at KIT in 2016 with the topic "Electric Mobility and Energy Systems - A techno-economic impact analysis of electric vehicles on the energy system". In our interview, Patrick Jochem provides insights into his research.


What are you currently working on?

Patrick Jochem: In energy system analysis, the wires are running hot in the accelerated energy transition. The stakes are high for many decision-makers and the puzzle of a cost-effective & sustainable energy system is extremely complex. In this uncertain environment, wrong decisions can quickly lead to bad investments. I am currently fascinated by four of these topics in particular. First, we have set up a database that maps the resource requirements of the technologies needed for the energy transition. This means that we can now also indicate how many and which resources are required for the classic energy scenarios, such as how many wind turbines we need in Europe, and from which countries they come from. Here we are contributing to a more resilient transformation of the European energy system. A second topic is the profitability of renewable power generation plants, such as photovoltaics and wind. When investments are made in these technologies today, profitability is often low, as electricity prices are already very low at the times when these technologies are fed into the grid (sunny days or windy phases) and this will not change if these technologies continue to grow. Only storage and other flexibilities have the potential to break through this dilemma - or other policy measures such as a new electricity market design. We are also currently developing an agent-based macroeconomic model to analyze the impact of the energy transition on labor markets and interest rate effects, for example. 

What is your personal motivation?

Patrick Jochem: To make a small contribution to a better world. In particular, to drive forward the global energy transition in order to mitigate climate change.

What kind of challenges are you facing in the near future?

Patrick Jochem: The challenge in today's world is increasingly to manage the transfer. The population is often not aware of us enough. We still make too little use of the new communication channels to substantially close this gap. I would like to make a contribution to this without lowering our scientific ambitions.

If you could make a wish for something for your research, what would you wish for?

Patrick Jochem: That interdisciplinary systems research is perceived more as a scientific discipline in its own right. It is often disconcerting when scientists from other disciplines do not appreciate the level of knowledge behind energy scenarios and present their own, non-value-neutral and highly simplified overall solution concepts for the energy transition and loudly offer them to decision-makers. This also contributes to the fact that we are taken less seriously outside the scientific community, thereby strengthening alternative facts.

Where do you see your discipline in 5-10 years?

Patrick Jochem: I would be delighted if we could speed up our models a little more so that we can react more quickly to crisis situations and thus be more directly useful to the population.

ORCID: 0000-0002-7486-4958