In the 2030 Clean Energy for all Europeans Package from 2018, a policy frame was developed for the European Union (EU) to guide the achievement of the Paris Agreement and other objectives related to supply security and a competitive energy system. The 2050 Long-term Strategy of the EU develops possible scenarios to a climate neutral EU in 2050 with scenarios aiming at the full deployment of all technology options, while other scenarios assume an increase in climate awareness of EU citizens translating into lifestyle changes and consumer choices, as well as a more circular economy.
While these scenarios present a major step forward beyond previous modelling approaches by integrating such societal trends into 2050 scenarios, much more progress is necessary to enhance the empirical basis for such New Societal Trends and their representation in models, in particular those covering the demand side. By New Societal Trends we understand societal developments arising from general Megatrends, which can have potentially large (increasing or decreasing) impacts on energy consumption as well as cross-sectoral demand shifts because they are not simply the extrapolation of already presently observed trends ("continuous or linear trends") but may take up speed when they are embraced by larger parts of the society ("disruptive or non-linear trends"). Such trends include in particular:
and will be the main focus of the present project.
The aim of NewTRENDs is to increase the qualitative and quantitative understanding of impacts of New Societal Trends on energy consumption and to improve the modelling of energy demand, energy efficiency and policy instruments. Through this, the ability of policy makers to guide those trends in the light of the Paris Agreement and the long-term climate and energy targets of the European Union can be increased.
Derived from this overall objective, the project NewTRENDs has the three detailed sub goals:
From a methodological perspective, three major aspects characterize the NewTRENDs project:
From September 2020 to August 2023