The European Commission’s energy policy decisions are underpinned by thorough analyses and impact assessments. Mathematical models and tools are used to assess policies' effectiveness and evaluate the potential consequences of policy proposals.
EU Reference Scenario 2016
The EU Reference Scenario is one of the European Commission's key analysis tools in the areas of energy, transport and climate action. It allows policy-makers to analyse the long-term economic, energy, climate and transport outlook based on the current policy framework. It is not designed as a forecast of what is likely to happen in the future, but it provides a benchmark against which new policy proposals can be assessed. National experts from all EU countries actively participate in its preparation.
Explore the latest EU Reference Scenario 2016 with interactive graphs.
EU Reference Scenario 2016 main outputs:
- The Reference Scenario 2016 – full report
- Summary of main results
- Excel sheets with EU and EU country results
- Presentation on EU Reference Scenario 2016 main results
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The European Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in these interactive graphs, developed by external contractors, nor does it accept responsibility for any use made thereof. Neither the Commission nor any person acting on the Commission’s behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Modelling framework for the EU Reference Scenario
Previous editions of the Reference Scenario
- 2013 – EU energy, transport, and greenhouse gas emissions trends to 2050
- 2009 – EU energy trends to 2030
- 2007 – European energy and transport trends to 2030
- 2005 – European energy and transport trends to 2030
- 2003 – European energy and transport trends to 2030
As part of the European Commission's impact assessment work in 2016, two core policy scenarios, EUCO27 and EUCO30, were created using the PRIMES model , with the EU Reference Scenario 2016 as a starting point. They model the achievement of the 2030 climate and energy targets as agreed by the European Council in 2014 (the first scenario with a 27% energy efficiency target and the second with a 30% energy efficiency target). These scenarios were used as inputs to these documents:
- Impact Assessment accompanying the proposal for an Effort Sharing Regulation
- Staff Working Document accompanying the Communication A European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility
- Impact Assessment accompanying the proposal for revising the Renewable Energy Directive
- Impact Assessment accompanying the proposal for the revised Energy Efficiency Directive
The EUCO+ scenarios, which model the achievement of energy efficiency targets above 30% in 2030, and the EUCO3030 sensitivity analysis, which combined a 30% renewable share in 2030 with an energy efficiency target of 30%, were also prepared in 2016. They were used in the Impact Assessment accompanying the proposal for the revised Energy Efficiency Directive. These scenarios are presented in the following technical report:
For the Impact Assessment accompanying the proposal for revising the Renewable Energy Directive and the Impact Assessment accompanying the proposal for the revised Energy Efficiency Directive (both published in November 2016), another modelling exercise was undertaken to demonstrate the impact of the scenarios at a macro-economic level (e.g. on GDP growth and employment). It used two different models.
- Technical report on EUCO scenarios – GEM-E3 model results
- Technical report on EUCO scenarios – E3ME model results
To model how the European energy system works, in particular electricity and gas markets and systems, DG Energy is developing the METIS model.
DG Energy is currently undertaking a study of the links between EU energy-related policies and macroeconomic development.
Other modelling activities
The European Commission's Joint Research Centre is developing an EU energy, transport and greenhouse gas emissions tool called POTEnCIA. The Commission also promotes new modelling approaches via its Horizon 2020 programme, including SET-NAV, REEEM, REFLEX and MEDEAS.