Analysis of the European energy system under the aspects of flexibility and technological progress (REFLEX)

The decarbonisation of the energy system is one of the main challenges the European Union is facing in the coming years and decades. Achieving the targeted emission reductions of 80 to 95% compared to 1990 levels by 2050 requires a fundamental transformation of the European energy system. Therefore, the SET-Plan has been established to accelerate the development and deployment of low‐carbon technologies especially in the fields of using Renewable Energy Sources (RES) and increasing of energy efficiency. Because of their intermittent nature, the integration of RES requires the implementation of several flexibility options such as energy storage systems, smart grids and demand side management as well as new cross‐sectoral applications like power‐to-heat and power‐to‐transport. Still, the interaction between different options, the optimal portfolio and the impact on environment and society are unknown.

The core objective of the REFLEX project is to analyse and evaluate the development towards a low‐carbon energy system with focus on flexibility options in the EU up to the year 2050 to support a better system integration of renewables. The analysis comprises a comparative assessment of all relevant energy technologies as to the related impacts and the sustainability performance on the environment, society and economy based on a cross‐sectoral perspective.

The analysis and assessment are based on a modelling environment that considers the full extent to which current and future energy technologies and policies interfere and how they affect the environment and society while considering technological learning of low carbon and flexibility technologies. For this purpose, REFLEX brings together the comprehensive expertise and competences of known European experts from six different countries.

The results from REFLEX will help to understand the complex links, interactions and interdependencies between different actors, available technologies and impact of the different interventions on all levels from the individual to the whole energy system. In this way, the knowledge base for decision‐making concerning feasibility, effectiveness, costs and impacts of different policy measures will be strengthened, which will assist policy makers and support the implementation of the SET-Plan. The results will be disseminated via workshops, publications and


2016 - 2019


  • European Commission


  • Institut für Industriebetriebslehre und Industrielle Produktion (IIP), Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), Germany
  • TEP Energy GmbH, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • ESA2 GmbH, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • TRT Trasporti e Territorio, Milano
  • AGH University of Science and Technology, Krakow, Poland
  • Technische Universität Dresden, Germany
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden