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Non-nuclear energy

Knowledge for Energy Policy-making

Fission and radiation protection

October 2005
Issue 4

Knowledge for Energy Policy-making

Looking into the Future with the VLEEM Project

The aim of VLEEM was to develop a Very Long Term Energy- Environment Model essentially dealing with climate change and depletion of fossil fuel resources. VLEEM combined two innovative methods: back-casting and a re-think of energy environment modelling to assess the relationships between very long term changes in social and cultural behaviour and technological progress.

Activities in life were categorized into five main social and cultural areas: economic production, food and feeding, shelter and lodging, leisure and self fulfilment, and mobility. The energy and services needed for each of these activities were then analysed and projected into the future according to different scenarios.

Population is the most fundamental driver of the needs for energy services over the very long term. As well as the number of persons, the number of households also has an important influence on energy needs. The average number of persons per household in the world is expected to decrease from 3.7 in 2000 to 2.4 in 2100, with decreases by more than half in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

Information in the form of education and general knowledge taken from newspapers, TV, Internet, travel, and so on is the second key driver of energy needs. It determines wealth through labour productivity, and hence consumer behaviour in terms of quantities and technical specifications of goods and services demanded.

How people divide their time between work and leisure is the third main driver. Household income depends on the time spent in working for money which is then spent on the purchase of goods and services, thereby increasing energy needs. The needs for energy services diversify and increase along with the decrease in time spent per activity. For instance, eating a ready-made frozen dish saves a lot of cooking time, but results in additional energy consumption in the home for storing and warming up the meal, and in the factory and throughout the distribution chain to prepare, cook, freeze, store and transport the food.

The five main conclusions that can be drawn for the changes in worldwide energy needs from 2000 to 2100 are the following in a “business as usual” scenario according to expected socio-economic development. It has to be said that forecasting over such a long time frame is beset by difficulties caused by all the social, technological, economic and political unknowns, so the following figures can only be broad indications:

  • Energy used for food will double
  • Energy for thermal comfort and living-space heating
    and cooling will triple
  • Energy for mobility will increase by a factor of five
  • Energy for economic production will only increase moderately
  • Energy for leisure and self-fulfilment (sports, cultural, social, and tourism activities) will have the fastest growth of all.

More information

Division of time spent daily on food needs vs information (education/gathering general knowledge) in 2000 and 2100.
Division of time spent daily on food needs vs information (education/gathering general knowledge) in 2000 and 2100.

FP6 – Scientific Support to Policies in the Energy Sector

Policy decisions at European level will potentially affect the lives of millions of people for many years, and decision-makers often need access to timely, scientific research to make informed choices. Recognising the role of science in the decision-making process, the European Commission has launched the Scientific Support to Policies (SSP) initiative under the Sixth Framework Programme. The SSP projects relating to energy policy are described below.

World Energy Technology Outlook 2050 – WETO-H2
The objective of the WETO-H2 project is to produce a world energy and technology outlook up to 2050. The project assesses various technological developments that might occur in the next 50 years, also in the context of targets for greenhouse gas emissions. WETO-H2 will evaluate two long-term strategies for sustainability: the hydrogen economy and the strong reduction of CO2 emissions (50% reduction in Europe). A first WETO report – featuring an outlook up to 2030 – has already been published, and is available at:

Coordinator: B. Chateau, Enerdata, France
More info

Case Study Comparisons and Development of Energy Models for Integrated Technology Systems – CASCADE MINTS
The objectives of the CASCADE MINTS project are two-fold: to develop new energy models and to investigate the impacts of sustainable energy policies. The first part of the project focuses on modelling, scenario evaluation and the detailed analysis of the prospects of the hydrogen economy. Energy models will be developed and applied to analyse the costs and conditions under which a transition towards a hydrogen economy is possible. The second part of the project aims to reach a scientific consensus among modellers on how various economic and energy policies might influence technological development. The main EU, Canadian, US, Japanese and global models will be reviewed and compared.

Coordinators: Pantelis Capros, Nikos Kouvaritakis
National Technical University of Athens, Greece
More info 

Dissemination of External Costs of Electricity Supply: Making electricity external costs known to policy-makers – MAXIMA
By fostering discussion between the energy industry, policy makers and NGOs, the project will provide an accepted scientific methodology for taking into account the external costs of electricity in European policy consideration, and will provide a consensual set of external cost estimates. The methodology and data produced in the project will be presented to policy makers and other stakeholders at a large symposium on 9 December 2005.

Coordinators: R. Friedrich, P. Bickel
University of Stuttgart, Germany
More info 

European Sustainable Electricity: Comprehensive analysis of future European demand and generation of European electricity and its security of supply – EUSUSTEL
The EU Member States often have significantly different electricity supply infrastructures (in view of national policy and availability of resources), but the cost and impact of supplying electricity should be determined according to a common methodology. The aim of EUSUSTEL is to establish such a common methodology to evaluate the sustainability of future electricity supplies, in terms of cost, environmental impact and security of supply. Starting with a review of electricity supply in the EU-25 countries, EUSUSTEL will predict the evolution of electricity consumption and attempt to determine the full range of costs associated with future electricity generation. The results from the project will provide policy-makers with information on the role that nuclear, renewables, coal and gas may play in electricity supply up to 2030.

Coordinator: William D’Haeseleer Katholieke
Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
More info 

Energy Corridor Optimisation for the European Markets of Gas, Electricity and Hydrogen – ENCOURAGED
In view of the importance of diversifying the EU's energy supply, the ENCOURAGED project assesses the optimum network and interconnection infrastructure for electricity, gas and hydrogen in neighbouring regions, such as North Africa, the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe and Russia. These regions are expected to play a key role in energy supply in the coming decades. The project will evaluate the implications of a large European energy network, and will make recommendations on how to implement strategic energy corridors.

Coordinator: Frits van Oostvoorn, ECN, The Netherlands
More info

Renewable Energy in Developing Countries: Current situation, market potential and recommendations for a win-win-win for EU industry, the environment and local socio-economic development − RECIPES
The RECIPES project aims to increase the use of renewable energy in developing countries, by bringing together stakeholders and providing them with sound guidelines for implementing renewables. In particular, the project will identify strategies and solutions that can be of mutual benefit for regional economies, local and European companies and the environment. The project will consider the current level of implementation of renewable technologies in developing countries, their technical potential and the associated costs and benefits, in order to produce practical recommendations for the increased use of renewable energy.

Coordinator: Eric Everard
Prospect Consulting & Services, Belgium
More info 

Scientific Reference System on New Energy Technologies, Energy End-use Efficiency and Energy RTD – SRS NET & EEE
This project aims to develop a Scientific Reference System capable of enhancing the quality and completeness of data on new energy technologies and energy end-use efficiency, by producing a database containing validated technical and economic information. The existing collection of historical energy expenditure data will be extended to all energy technologies (including fossil and nuclear), to support energy RTD strategies in a wider context.

Coordinator: John Psarras
National Technical University of Athens, Greece

The European Regulation Forum on Electricity Reforms – SESSA
SESSA is a European forum on electricity reforms, bringing together various energy stakeholders. It aims to contribute to the 2006 European review of the internal energy market. SESSA's main objectives are:

  • To improve the existing knowledge on regulations and policies
  • To develop and compare methodologies, defining critical factors for European energy sustainability
  • To make proposals for implementing best practices
  • To promote interaction between high-level academics and decision makers.

A series of recommendations from the SESSA project were presented in Brussels on 9 September 2005 (see article in this edition of RENEWS).

Coordinator: F. Lévêque, ARMINES, France
More info


More than 150 high-level delegates, including Mr A. Piebalgs, the Commissioner for Energy, and researchers, national and European regulators, and representatives of industry participated in this conference.

SESSA was a specific support action providing a scientific forum on regulation of sustainable energy, funded under the Scientific Support to Policy (SSP) programme. It was concerned with issues of market design, industry restructuring, the effects of EU enlargement on electricity needs, effective harmonisation of regulations, and sustainability of investments.

The SESSA project has come up with a series of recommendations. In a liberalised electricity market, better cooperation between national transmission system operators, and more coordination of cross-border investments in additional transmission capacity are needed. Bilateral and regional harmonisation agreements between regulators should be encouraged. However, merging of electricity and gas companies can have the effect of reducing competition in the market. Results from the SESSA project will provide an important input to the review of EU electricity liberalisation planned for 2006.

More information 

Energy Futures Seminar

The Commission's Charlemagne building was due to be full of energy on 21 September 2005, when two important energy meetings were to take place. Reports on the two events will appear in the next issue of the RENEWS newsletter.
The first one was the information day organised by DG TREN (see page 8).
The other event was the Seminar on “Energy Futures – the role of RTD” organised by the DG RTD New and Renewable Energy Sources Unit to give energy stakeholders the opportunity to meet and discuss the main energy issues expected to arise within the timeframe from 2030 to 2100.

More information can be found on the following website: energy/gp/gp_pu/article_1100_en.htm


Cover "Socio-Economic Projects In Energy, Transport and Environment"
Socio-economic Projects in Energy, Transport and Environment
This booklet describes all the socio-economic projects in the energy, transport and environment fields which have been funded over the last five years by the EU RTD Framework Programmes. It includes abstracts and contact details for the contractors involved in each project. The scope of the projects often cut across the three thematic areas, covering the following key issues: modelling and scenarios; direct and external costs; policy instruments and governance; and social acceptability and human behaviour.
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Catalogue n° KI-NA-21328-EN-C

Cover "European research spending for renewable energy sources"
European Research Spending for Renewable Energy Sources
This publication presents a clear picture of research spending in the field of renewables in Europe. Based on a questionnaire methodology, it provides data for national and EU spending in the public and private sectors, and on the number of personnel involved in renewable energy research, technology development and demonstration. The possible correlations between renewable research spending and GDP and the ratio between public and private spending in each Member State of the EU-15 are also discussed.
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Catalogue n° KI-NA-21346-EN-C

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