New Energy Externalities Developments for Sustainability

Funded by:		CEC
Project duration: 	2004 - 2008

The projectís ultimate objective is to evaluate the full costs and benefits (i.e. direct + external) of energy policies and of future energy systems, both at the level of individual countries and for the enlarged EU as a whole.
From the scientific and technological viewpoint, this entails major advancements in the current state of knowledge in the three main areas of:

  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of energy technologies
  • monetary valuation of externalities associated to energy production, transport, conversion and use
  • integration of LCA and externalities information into policy formulation and scenario building.

Based on current state-of-the-art, achieving such advancements requires a sizeable innovation effort in a number of research fields, including:

  • the analysis of new energy technologies options (e.g. fuel cells and other hydrogen-based technologies, advanced fossil fuels, advanced nuclear, etc.), and, in general, of renewable energy technologies for which the current LCA knowledge is insufficient (e.g. offshore wind, photovoltaics, bioelectricity, etc.)
  • the development of new and improved tools for the monetary valuation of externalities of energy, targeting major innovation at several stages of the Impact Pathway Approach (IPA), in terms of: (i) methods (e.g. valuation of mortality and morbidity, estimation of uncertainties, accounting for the precautionary principle, dynamic valuation of externalities, etc.), of (ii) impacts so far insufficiently addressed (e.g. loss of biodiversity, water and soil pathways, indoor combustion sources, oil spills, etc.), and of (iii) the availability and reliability of quantitative evidence (improved Exposure/Response functions, extension of the geographical coverage of available externality data, etc.)
  • the development of a consistent and robust analytical platform allowing to integrate the full range of information and data on LCA and external costs into a Pan-European modelling framework, and to build scenarios of future energy equilibria that must also reflect the foreseeable evolution of energy supply and technology uptake.

The consortium includes 66 partners (of which some 15% are SMEs), representing 26 Countries (12 EU Member States, 9 NAS, 3 Mediterranean Countries, and 2 Countries from other parts of the World). It presents a balanced mix of Universities, Research Institutions (both public and private), Industry, NGOs. Most leading institutions in the area of energy externalities research are represented. The Consortium is coordinated by ISIS, Institute for System Integration Studies (Rome).