DATE: February 2nd, 2024 AUTHORS: Connor McGookin | Diana Süsser | Georgios Xexakis | Evelina Trutnevyte | Will McDowall | Alexandros Nikas | Konstantinos Koasidis | Sheridan Few | Per Dannemand Andersen | Christina Demski | Patrícia Fortes | Sofia G. Simoes | Christopher Bishop | Fionn Rogan | Brian Ó Gallachóir JOURNAL: Energy Strategy Reviews TITLE: Advancing participatory energy systems modelling SHORT DESCRIPTION:
Energy system models are important tools to guide our understanding of current and future carbon dioxide emissions as well as to inform strategies for emissions reduction. These models offer a vital evidence base that increasingly underpins energy and climate policies in many countries. In light of this important role in policy formation, there is growing interest in, and demands for, energy modellers to integrate more diverse perspectives on possible and preferred futures into the modelling process. The main purpose of this is to ensure that the resultant policy decisions are both fairer and better reflect people’s concerns and preferences. However, while there has been a focus in the literature on efforts to bring societal dimensions into modelling tools, there remains a limited number of examples of well-structured participatory energy systems modelling processes and no available how-to guidance. This paper addresses this gap by providing good practice guidance for integrating stakeholder and public involvement in energy systems modelling based on the reflections of a diverse range of experts from this emergent field. The framework outlined in this paper offers multiple entry points for modellers to incorporate participatory elements either throughout the process or in individual stages. Recognising the messiness of both fields (energy systems modelling and participatory research), the good practice principles are not comprehensive or set in stone, but rather pose important questions to steer this process. Finally, the reflections on key issues provide a summary of the crucial challenges and important areas for future research in this critical field.
Three different directions in which the European Union could replace Russian natural gas
DATE: January 6th, 2024 AUTHORS: Alexandros Nikas et al. JOURNAL: Energy TITLE: Three different directions in which the European Union could replace Russian natural gas SHORT DESCRIPTION:
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine fuelled an energy crisis, which considerably impacted Europe given its heavy reliance on Russian natural gas imports. This study uses an ensemble of four global integrated assessment models, which are further soft-linked to two sectoral models, and explores the synergies and trade-offs among three approaches to living without Russian gas in Europe: (a) replacing with other gas imports, (b) boosting domestic energy production, and (c) reducing demand and accelerating energy efficiency. We find that substituting Russian gas from other trade partners would miss an opportunity to accelerate decarbonisation in end-use sectors while risking further fossil-fuel lock-ins, despite featuring the lowest gas price spikes and potentially reducing heating costs for end-users in the near term. Boosting domestic, primarily renewable, energy production on the other hand would instead require considerable investments, potentially burdening consumers. Energy demand reductions, however, could offer considerable space for further emissions cuts at the lowest power-sector investment costs; nonetheless, an energy efficiency-driven strategy would also risk relocation of energy-intensive industries, an aspect of increasing relevance to EU policymakers.
JOURNAL LINK: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2024.130254 ZENODO LINK: SYNERGIES:IAM COMPACT Nikas, A., Frilingou, N., Heussaff, C., Fragkos, P., Mittal, S., Sampedro, J., ... & Van de Ven, D. J. (2024). Three different directions in which the European Union could replace Russian natural gas. Energy, 130254.
A multi-model analysis of the EU’s path to net zero
DATE: November 23rd, 2023 AUTHORS: Baptiste Boitier | Alexandros Nikas | Ajay Gambhir | Konstantinos Koasidis | Alessia Elia | Khaled Al-Dabbas | Şirin Alibaş | Lorenza Campagnolo | Alessandro Chiodi | Elisa Delpiazzo | Haris Doukas | Arnaud Fougeyrollas | Maurizio Gargiulo | Pierre Le Mouël | Felix Neuner | Sigit Perdana | Dirk-Jan van de Ven | Marc Vielle | Paul Zagamé | Shivika Mittal JOURNAL: Joule TITLE: A multi-model analysis of the EU’s path to net zero SHORT DESCRIPTION:
The European Union (EU) recently ratcheted its climate ambition to net-zero emissions by 2050, with a milestone of 55% emissions cuts in 2030. This study carries out a model inter-comparison to assess the EU’s path, from “Fit for 55” in 2030 to an intermediate milestone in 2040 and onto net zero in 2050, offering insights at sectoral and member-state levels. Our model results support the bloc’s ambition for its Emissions Trading System and Effort Sharing Regulation sectors while pointing to the need for near-complete decarbonization of electricity by 2040, enabled by considerable deployment of renewables (45%–65% in 2030, to 60%–70% in 2040, and to 75%–90% in 2050 in electricity generation) and carbon capture and storage (0.5–2 GtCO2/year by 2050). We also highlight the trade-offs between supply-side and harder-to-abate sectors, assess the ambition of member states for net zero and timing of coal phaseout, and reflect on the economic implications of investment, technical, and policy needs.
The EU carbon border adjustment mechanism: implications on Brazilian energy intensive industries
DATE: November 2nd, 2023 AUTHORS: Sigit Perdana | Marc Vielle | Thais Diniz Oliveira JOURNAL: Climate Policy TITLE: The EU carbon border adjustment mechanism: implications on Brazilian energy intensive industries SHORT DESCRIPTION:
As an instrument supporting the realization of EU climate neutrality targets by 2050 and encouraging decarbonization outside its borders, the current proposed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) is facing opposition from some countries. Focusing on Brazil, this paper evaluates the impacts of the CBAM on the Brazilian economy through a comprehensive analysis of various scenarios based on the potential EU implementation of the CBAM and Brazil’s climate scenarios. Results obtained in this research alleviate concerns of detrimental and competitiveness losses from Brazilian industries. Rather, the implementation of the EU CBAM improves the trade balance of Brazil’s Energy-Intensive Industries (EII). The relatively low CO2 contents of Brazilian EII are elemental to this result, while contributions of carbon-free technologies in electricity generation are also critical factors in maximizing this trade surplus. Other consequential factors affecting these results are the contributions of CO2 removal from Brazil’s forestry of land used, and homogeneity of CBAM-imposed products.
JOURNAL LINK: https://doi.org/10.1080/14693062.2023.2277405 ZENODO LINK: SYNERGIES: Perdana, S. P., Vielle, M., & Diniz-Oliveira, T. (2023). The EU carbon border adjustment mechanism: implications on Brazilian energy intensive industries. Climate Policy
A multicriteria modeling approach for evaluating power generation scenarios under uncertainty: The case of green hydrogen in Greece
DATE: October 10th, 2023 AUTHORS: Diamantis Koutsandreas | Georgios P. Trachanas | Ioannis Pappis | Alexandros Nikas | Haris Doukas | John Psarras JOURNAL: Energy Strategy Reviews TITLE: A multicriteria modeling approach for evaluating power generation scenarios under uncertainty: The case of green hydrogen in Greece SHORT DESCRIPTION:
Clean energy technological innovations are widely acknowledged as a prerequisite to achieving ambitious long-term energy and climate targets. However, the optimal speed of their adoption has been parsimoniously studied in the literature. This study seeks to identify the optimal intensity of moving to a green hydrogen electricity sector in Greece, using the OSeMOSYS energy modeling framework. Green hydrogen policies are evaluated, first, on the basis of their robustness against uncertainty and, afterwards, against conflicting performance criteria and for different decision-making profiles towards risk, by applying the VIKOR and TOPSIS multi-criteria decision aid methods. Although our analysis focuses exclusively on the power sector and compares different rates of hydrogen penetration compared to a business-as-usual case without considering other game-changing innovations (such as other types of storage or carbon capture and storage), we find that a national transition to a green hydrogen economy can support Greece in potentially cutting at least 16 MtCO2 while stimulating investments of EUR 10–13 bn. over 2030–2050.
JOURNAL LINK: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esr.2023.101233 ZENODO LINK: SYNERGIES:PARIS REINFORCE Koutsandreas, D., Trachanas, G., Pappis, I., Nikas, A., Doukas, H., & Psarras, J. (2023). A multicriteria modeling approach for evaluating power generation scenario s under uncertainty: the case of green hydrogen in Greece. Energy Strategy Reviews, 50
Co-creating Canada’s path to net-zero: a stakeholder-driven modelling analysis
DATE: August 1st, 2023 AUTHORS: Alison Bailie | Marie Pied | Kathleen Vaillancourt | Olivier Bahn | Konstantinos Koasidis | Ajay Gambhir | Jakob Wachsmuth | Philine Warnke | Ben McWilliams | Haris Doukas | Alexandros Nikas JOURNAL: Renewable and Sustainable Energy Transition TITLE: Co-creating Canada's path to net-zero: a stakeholder-driven modelling analysis SHORT DESCRIPTION:
Canada has pledged ambitious emission targets, aiming to achieve a reduction of at least 40–45% below 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. Being amongst the major economies with high dependence on fossil fuels, however, this path is far from straightforward. This research employs NATEM, a TIMES-based regional energy system model for North America with explicit representation of Canada, as well as knowledge produced and shared by stakeholders during a targeted workshop dedicated to identifying decarbonisation bottlenecks, to compare the paths to net zero on the basis of whether stakeholder perceptions are considered or not. We find that the path to net-zero is technically feasible but critically entails the use of negative emissions technologies, like (bioenergy with) carbon capture and storage (CCS) and direct air capture, in addition to the large-scale deployment of a large range of mitigation options already available today. Based on the feedback received from the stakeholders, around both the use of CCS-based technologies and the potential of demand-side measures such as modal shifts in transportation and better urban planning, we impose a set of additional conditions and restrictions. We find that the co-created net-zero pathway is also technically feasible while relying less on technologies that may trigger bottlenecks prioritised by the stakeholders; notably, despite yielding a similar emissions trajectory, it entails significantly different sectoral and technological configurations to the non-co-created net-zero scenario, requiring an acceleration of near-term abatement measures, mainly through electrification and quicker rollout of renewable and other clean energy technologies.
In-Cognitive: A web-based Python application for fuzzy cognitive map design, simulation, and uncertainty analysis based on the Monte Carlo method
DATE: July 1st, 2023 AUTHORS: Themistoklis Koutsellis | Georgios Xexakis | Konstantinos Koasidis | Natasha Frilingou | Anastasios Karamaneas | Alexandros Nikas | Haris Doukas JOURNAL: SoftwareX TITLE: In-Cognitive: A web-based Python application for fuzzy cognitive map design, simulation, and uncertainty analysis based on the Monte Carlo method SHORT DESCRIPTION:
Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping is a semi-quantitative modelling method, widely used for decision support in various domains. However, existing software applications have been criticised over inadequate handling of uncertain information, lack of accessibility, and inability to converge to solutions for all modelled systems. Here we present In-Cognitive, an open-source, web-based application for the creation, visualisation, and simulation of Fuzzy Cognitive Maps, ensuring solution convergence and allowing for Monte Carlo uncertainty analysis. The application is built in Python and Bokeh and provides an accessible and user-friendly interface to model various systems quickly and reliably and evaluate the robustness of the modelling solutions.
Seven key principles for assessing emerging low-carbon technological opportunities for climate change mitigation action
DATE: July 10th, 2023 AUTHORS: Ajay Gambhir | Alexandros Nikas JOURNAL: PLOS Climate TITLE: Seven key principles for assessing emerging low-carbon technological opportunities for climate change mitigation action SHORT DESCRIPTION:
It is virtually certain that there is going to be a scramble for technological innovation in the coming years, to ensure that society can operate without today’s vast reliance on fossil fuels and their associated CO2 emissions, nor the emissions of methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) from agriculture and waste, and other greenhouse gases from human activities. Indeed, it has been estimated that almost half of the technologies making up a net-zero energy system in 2050 are commercially unavailable.
In this technology gold rush, there will inevitably be both successes and failures. Some new technologies will help tackle both climate change and other energy-related or societal challenges (such as energy security and reliance on volatile fossil fuel prices), whereas others—despite their contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions—will risk augmenting existing concerns or even give rise to new societal issues (such as local environmental pollution, or bottlenecks and disruptions to communities affected by extraction of energy transition-critical materials and over-reliance on brittle international mineral supply-chains with the associated geo-political tensions that could result).
Furthermore, technology development will not occur in isolation of broader infrastructures (such as roads and city designs, electric vehicle charging networks, district heating, and cooling networks, or hydrogen pipelines). Still, rather technologies will be central “artefacts” within a system of physical, regulatory, and political innovation systems. The success or failure of such systems will depend on multiple actors (including researchers, businesses, investors, governments, and consumers) and factors (regulation, policy, capital availability, information, social legitimacy for new technologies, etc.) as well as the efficacy of their interactions.
Carbon border adjustment mechanism in the transition to net-zero emissions: collective implementation and distributional impacts
DATE: February 18th, 2023 AUTHORS: Sigit Perdana | Marc Vielle JOURNAL: Environmental Economics and Policy Studies TITLE: Carbon border adjustment mechanism in the transition to net-zero emissions: collective implementation and distributional impacts SHORT DESCRIPTION:
As an instrument to minimize carbon leakage, the effects and feasibility of Carbon Border Adjustments Mechanism (CBAM) will depend on multiple design options. While the EU has committed to introducing CBAM as part of its green climate deal, pursuing climate efforts to successfully limit global warming requires a collective implementation involving major emitters China and the US. This paper quantifies the distributional impacts of a joint CBAM implementation of in a climate alliance or a club of the EU, the US, and China. Differing from a myriad of studies that focus on unilateral CBAM, this analysis emphasizes collective implications on leakage, sectoral competitiveness, and welfare by projecting climate neutrality relative to current policies and climate targets. Our findings confirm that coalition reduces leakage, improves production on energy-intensive industries, and increases club’s welfare relative to a non-CBAM and a unilateral implementation. These are in contrast with some unilateral analytical studies, especially for the US. It is further proof of the potential of CBAM as collective instruments to facilitate mitigation and trade competitiveness.
Reinforcing the Paris Agreement: Ambitious scenarios for the decarbonisation of the Central Asian and Caspian region
DATE: August 1st, 2023 AUTHORS: Gabriele Cassetti | Alessia Elia | Maurizio Gargiulo | Alessandro Chiodi JOURNAL: Renewable & Sustainable Energy Transition TITLE: Reinforcing the Paris Agreement: Ambitious scenarios for the decarbonisation of the Central Asian and Caspian region SHORT DESCRIPTION:
For its abundant fossil resources, the Central Asia and Caspian region plays a strategic role in the energy security of major markets, such as Europe and China. However, this dependence on export, added to a firm reliance on fossil fuels for internal consumption, represents a significant challenge for the decarbonisation of the region.
In this paper, we perform an energy scenario analysis of four countries in the region (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan), aiming to investigate how ambitious their regional decarbonisation targets for 2050 are in view of the Paris Agreement. We also develop a net-zero emission pathway to reinforce the regional climate ambition in the long term. As a novelty in the literature, the scenario analysis is co-designed with regional stakeholders through an engagement process that we have carried out from December 2020 to May 2021.
The analysis is performed with the TIMES-CAC energy system model. Results show that current regional energy policies are insufficient for achieving ambitious climate targets in the long term (2050 and beyond). The lack of a long-term strategy to decrease the dependence on export increases the influence of importing countries’ energy policies. Even in a decarbonised scenario, the role of China remains significant, while the dependence on the European Union decreases. To limit the pressure from other countries in the energy transition, the region should start implementing a rigorous energy planning process today to fill the “ambition gap” and achieve carbon neutrality in a 40-year horizon.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.
Project Coordinator: Dr. Alexandros Nikas | Institute of Communications and Computer Systems (ICCS), NTUA
Project Manager: Dr. Konstantinos Koasidis | Institute of Communications and Computer Systems (ICCS), NTUA