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Project NEEDS

New Energy Externalities Developments for Sustainability

European Union

RSE SpA

WP Leader

2004-2007

Pierpaolo Girardi

ABSTRACT

NEEDS objective is to provide direct, usable inputs to the formulation and evaluation of energy policies in the overall framework of sustainability, taking into account the economic, environmental and social aspects. To this end several methodologies have been used and integrated each others. Fist of all LCA database of innovative technologies has been developed. A new methodological framework for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of future technologies is developed by combining prospective methods that are used to reflect technological change (like Technology Foresight and Experience Curves) with the traditional LCA approach.

In contrast to traditional static LCA, a direct link between LCA tools and energy system modelling is established, enabling direct feedback loops between future energy system configurations and the life cycle inventories of individual energy technologies (dynamic LCA). Life cycle inventory data for the reference technologies (e.g. kg SO2-emissions per kWh) are combined with results from other research stream to quantify external costs per kWh for each reference technology. To this end also the Impact Pathway Analysis (IPA) method developed in the ExternE project is further enhanced, new methods to incorporate nonlinear relationships between emissions and external costs have been introduced.

Then the core of the methodology is represented by TIMES, the latest IEA-ETSAP bottom-up technology oriented model generator. The use of TIMES will allow research teams to implement and make available a unique partial equilibrium economic model of the EU energy system built upon the trade equilibrium of 29 EU Member State / New Accession Country models having a long term time horizon, high technological detail in energy supply and end-use sectors. According to different policy options and assumptions, equilibrium quantities and prices of energy vectors, energy technologies, emissions and other burdens will be provided. These results are input to both LCA and Externalities for iterative, convergent evaluations.

Finally, Multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) will be employed to perform an alternative evaluation of technological options, allowing use of the technical knowledge in a structured process that is also open to accounting for values, leading to comparisons and rankings based on total (internal plus external) costs and to suggestions on the directions for technological improvements that could improve the robustness of specific options.