The idea of establishing an “Association for Applied Energy Studies“ (GfpE) was first brought up by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Habil Herbert F. Mueller. The statutory tasks where constituted for the first time at the foundation on April 29, 1949.
The founders Prof. Mueller and Dr. Meysenburg as well as the three founding companies RWE AG, Ruhrgas AG and STEAG wanted to form a non-commercial organization, which, for the first time, addressed not only energy production but also the issues of energy utilization. This organization should promote applied energy studies by means of research, teaching and information of the public, having no preference for any competitive energy carrier. The GfpE, including its research center at the Institute of Technology, was located in Karlsruhe.
A quotation from the foundation speech illustrates the foresight of the founders:
"In contrast to our highly qualified technical education at our universities there is a shortage of education in energy economics. This disadvantage is very evident in practice and constantly costs educational budget. We are on the verge of a strong development in energy economics with unknown extent and directions. All the more it is of importance to identify the mechanisms it is influenced by."
In order to solve its set up tasks, the GfpE established the Research Center for Energy Economics (FfE) in 1952. The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology assigned the name “Research Center for Energy Economics at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology” on March 25, 1956. Since the foundation of the association, Professor Mueller was the managing director until his retirement in 1966.
Early on, the Research Center for Energy Economics has addressed topics, which have not lost any relevance. From the beginning, it strived for a holistic point of view considering energy costs of products, the balancing of single facilities, businesses and regions as well as the evaluation of cumulated energy demand. There has been a focus on specific technologies, such as the “renewable energy use” even since 1956.
On June 30, 1969 the GfpE and the Research Center for Energy Economics (FfE) moved to Munich, as the scientific director of the research center, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Helmut Schaefer was assigned for the professorship at the Institute for Energy Economy and Power Plant Technology (now: Institute for Energy Economy and Application Technology).
Throughout its longtime history, the Research Center for Energy Economics (FfE) has further educated over 250 scientific staff members by now.
After Prof. Mueller, Prof. Dr.-Ing Dr.-Ing E.h. Helmut Schaefer became the managing director and was the scientific director from 1969 to 1995. Dipl.-Ing. Karl Friedrich Ebersbach was the managing director between 1967 and 1987. He was succeeded by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Wagner from 1987 to 1994 and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Mauch since 1995.