Sharing electricity in an emergency or preferring to consume it yourself? Scientists from LOEWE-emergenCITY investigated this question in a recent study.

Strong social ties in communities encourage sharing.
© Pixabay/FrauOdilo
Strong social ties in communities encourage sharing.

Natural disasters are becoming more frequent, resources are becoming scarcer, and the expansion of renewable energies is also putting a strain on the power grid. This increases the risk of prolonged power outages, so-called blackouts. This has a negative impact on the entire population: communication networks, water supply and health care threaten to collapse under these extreme loads. At the same time, more and more households are producing their "own" electricity and are thus supplied with energy even in the event of a blackout. This could also open up new possibilities for emergency power supply.

Professor Carolin Bock and Konstantin Kurz from the Department of Law and Economics as well as Professor Michèle Knodt and Anna Stöckl from the Department of Social and Historical Sciences at the TU Darmstadt, who are conducting joint research in the LOEWE Center emergenCITY, have investigated the question of whether photovoltaic system owners would be willing to share their electricity with relatives and friends in an emergency situation and to maintain the most important infrastructures, while accepting cuts in their own consumption. And the results are encouraging: empathy and altruistic values are a stronger motivation than monetary incentives, according to the conclusion of the study entitled ""A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed? Analysis of the Willingness to Share Self-Produced Electricity During a Long-lasting Power Outage" in the Schmalenbach Journal of Business Research.