Webinar – The energy transition in Europe: insights from integrated assessment models and Socio-Technical Energy Transition (STET) modelling

Marc Jaxa-Rozen, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Rachel Freeman, UCL Energy Institute, UK


Evelina Trutnevyte, University of Geneva, Switzerland


  • Introduction by Evelina Trutnevyte
  • Electricity market governance and the historical performance of electricity transitions in European countries: insights from retrospective modeling

Speaker: Marc Jaxa-Rozen
Abstract: The last decades have seen several shifts in governance paradigms for European national electricity systems between market liberalization and policy interventions. However, there remains a lack of consistent evidence about impacts of electricity market governance on the performance of electricity systems. This work uses retrospective bottom-up modeling to assess links between electricity market governance in 31 European countries and their electricity system transitions during 1990-2019. We identify historical governance regimes based on indicators of market regulation, renewable electricity policy support, and combined regulation and policy support. To measure performance of electricity systems, we quantify deviations between modeled historical and least-cost pathways using net present costs per unit of supplied electricity, emissions intensity, transformation of generation mix, and share of new renewable technologies. Countries with earlier liberalization of electricity markets on average had higher unit net present costs, lower emissions intensity, and higher share of new renewable generation relative to modeled least-cost pathways. We find that European countries combining early liberalization with high support for renewable generation had the highest average historical share of renewable generation relative to least-cost pathways. Countries combining late liberalization with high support for renewable generation, which includes countries with a higher level of public ownership of incumbent low-carbon generation, had the lowest relative values for unit net present costs and emissions intensity.

  •  Socio-technical modelling of UK energy transition under three global SSPs, with recommendations for contributing to IAMs

Speaker: Rachel Freeman
Abstract: The potential for using findings from socio-technical energy transition (STET) models in Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) has been proposed by several authors. A STET simulation model called TEMPEST, which includes the influence of societal and political factors in the UK’s energy transition, is used to model three of the global shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs) at the national level. The SSP narratives are interpreted as inputs to TEMPEST, which drive scenario simulations to reflect varying societal preferences for mitigation measures, the level of political support for energy transition, and future economic and population trends. SSP1 and SSP2 come close to meeting UK net zero targets in 2050 but SSP5 does not reach net zero before 2080. Three key TEMPEST findings are recommended for use in IAMs: (i) the uncertainty in emissions savings due to variability in political and societal support for energy transition, (ii) the influence of negative societal pushback to policies in achievement of expected policy outcomes, and (iii) the combined influence on energy service demand of disposable income, public willingness to participate, and user impacts from measures. This talk will focus on the recommendations for using TEMPEST results in IAMs and discuss possibilities for next steps.

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