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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Preferences for configurations of Positive Energy Districts – Insights from a discrete choice experiment on Swiss households

Mihailova, Darja; Schubert, Iljana; Martinez Cruz, Adan; Hearn, Adam X.; Sohre, Annika


By 2025, the EU aims to develop 100 Positive Energy Districts (PEDs) - communities that promote renewables for energy generation and an environment that enables sustainable lifestyles on the part of the resident. Despite rising interest in the topic, prospective residents' preferences for PED configurations have yet to be documented. This paper addresses this gap by implementing a discrete choice experiment (DCE) on Swiss residents to explore preferences for configurations of PEDs according to three attributes: ownership and expected citizen engagement, mobility options, and availability of shared spaces. We document that residents' preferences for PED configurations vary depending on respondents' car and home ownership, age, household size, and values. Findings suggest a variety of preferences for PEDs that policy-makers may want to consider when developing these communities. One key recommendation is that policymakers should pay attention to existing mobility patterns when designing mobility alternatives around PEDs. Helping citizens envision their energy system and recognize an alternative energy future may also be important to building familiarity and propensity for change.


Positive energy districts; Renewable energy communities; Sustainable lifestyles; Discrete choice experiment; Market segmentation; Swiss households

Published in

Energy Policy
2022, volume: 163, article number: 112824

Authors' information

Mihailova, Darja
University of Basel
Schubert, Iljana
University of Basel
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Economics
Hearn, Adam X.
University of Basel
Sohre, Annika
University of Basel

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG7 Affordable and clean energy

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