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Energy - Gauging the effectiveness of clean and renewable alternatives
“To attempt to internalise external costs and present policy options for energy, transport and the environment by establishing a stakeholder consensus on the methodology and values used.”

The problem

Quantifying the external costs of electricity production, such as its environmental impact, has made considerable progress over the past 15 years, but the methodology has not been sufficiently disseminated within the power supply sector and among non-governmental organisations. Although the Impact Pathway Approach (IPA) is recognised as the best way to calculate external costs, its results still show considerable uncertainties and the assumptions upon which calculations are based need to be better known by stakeholders. A consensus on the values and methodology between the main stakeholders would aid implementation and policy decisions to ‘internalise external costs’.

MAXIMA  Seeking consensus on external power generation costs


MAXIMA will initiate discussions between the energy industry, policy-makers and NGOs to obtain a consensus on the method used for evaluating external costs and the values of underlying assumptions.

The project will:

  • Develop a concept for application of external costs in power production
  • Use the latest scientific knowledge to assess external costs
  • Strive for stakeholder consensus on approach, cost values and applications
  • Document issues that do not reach consensus and explore their effect

Contribution to policy development:

MAXIMA will:

  • Increase acceptance of external cost evaluation so as to build a common European approach to quantifying the impacts of energy use
  • Help to ensure a common strategy to meet the multiple challenges of environmental protection, energy security and sustainable development
  • Provide a basis for harmonising Member State taxation and subsidies in the energy, transportation and environment sectors

Project deliverables

  • Electricity external costs quantification and values – August 2005
  • Three stakeholder meetings – February 2005 and July 2005
  • Identification of areas on which consensus is not obtainable and recommendations for acceptable policy options – October 2005
  • Final report – November 2005


  • Periodic reports – Every six months
  • Two volumes of the ExternE publication series: ‘Methodology update 2004’ and
    ‘Results update 2004’
  • Final symposium for policy makers in Brussels which will be widely publicised – November 2005

Technical information

Project acronym: MAXIMA
Project’s official full title: Dissemination of external costs of electricity supply - Making electricity external costs known to policy-makers
Research priority: 3.2. The development of tools, indicators and operational parameters for assessing sustainable transport and energy systems performance (economic, environmental and social)
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 502480
Start date: 01/05/2004
Kick off meeting: 07/07/2004
Completion date:30/10/2005
European Commission scientific officer: Domenico Rossetti di Valdabero (

Name: Institute of Energy Economics and Rational Use of Energy, University of Stuttgart
Abbreviated name: USTUTT
Address: Pfaffenwaldring 31
DE-70569 Stuttgart
Country: Germany
Tel: +49 0711 685 75 74
Fax: +49 0711 685 75 67


Name: Association pour la Recherche et le Développement des Méthodes et Processus Industriels
Abbreviated name: ARMINES
Country: France

Name: University of Bath Department of Economics and International Development
Abbreviated name: U.Bath.Econ
Country: United Kingdom         

Name: Centro Elettrotecnico Sperimentale Italiano Giacinto Motta SpA
Abbreviated name: CESI
Country: Italy 

Name: Energy for Sustainable Development Ltd
Abbreviated name: ESD
Country: United Kingdom         

Name: HELIO International
Abbreviated name: HELIO
Country: France 

Name: Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment – Europe
Abbreviated name: GLOBE-EUROPE
Country: Belgium

Name: University of Strathclyde/ The Scottish Energy and Environment Foundation (SEEF)
Abbreviated name: UoS
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Electricité de France
Abbreviated name: EdF
Country: France