New trends in energy demand modeling

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:

  • Transition of Consumers to Prosumagers
  • Move towards a Circular Economy and a Low-carbon industry
  • Digitalisation of the Economy and of private lives
  • Trends towards a Shared Economy

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:

  • The first goal aims at identifying and quantifying how New Societal Trends affect energy demand (its structure and patterns, including cross-sectoral interdependencies).
  • The subsequent goal aims to investigate how energy demand models are to be improved to represent New Societal Trends and to represent policies that can influence such trends in the light of the Energy Efficiency First Principle in energy demand models.
  • The final goal aims for integrating recent empirical findings on the impacts of New Societal Trends as well as information from detailed data sources such as smart meter data available from recent technical advances into energy demand models, in order to improve the empirical basis for such investigations. Special care is given to uncertainties that are inherent when assessing New Societal Trends.


From a methodological perspective, three major aspects characterize the NewTRENDs project:

  • Firstly, the combination of foresight methods with quantitative model runs is implemented to select appropriate trends and work out, how such trends can be quantified. For this purpose, relevant trends are selected and their relevance for the energy system is assessed during a deep dive analysis. A condensation of those trends in clusters as well as the translation to model parameters and modelling gaps is carried out.
  • Secondly, it is investigated how existing, well-known energy demand models are to be improved to represent New Societal Trends, e.g. through agent-based and cross-sectoral approaches and how policies are represented in the demand models. For this, an initial scenario run of the existing demand models is carried out. Based on this a gap analysis of modelling structure as well as empirical data and an analysis of necessary model adaption is implemented. After realizing the model adaptions, a second scenario run is carried out for the comparison with the initial results.
  • The third methodological aspects focusses on the data perspective and aims to integrate recent empirical findings on consumption patterns and policy impacts. Those data will be analysed statistically and integrated in the models focussing on prosumager behaviour. In addition, the data can be used for policy analysis.


From September 2020 to August 2023


European Commission


  • E3-Modelling (E3M), Greece Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  • TEP Energy GmbH, Switzerland
  • TU Wien (Energy Economics Group), Austria
  • WiseEuropa (Fundacja Warszawski Instytut Studiów Ekonomicznych i Europejskich), Poland
  • Zentrum für Energiewirtschaft und Umwelt (e-think), Austria
  • ProAkademia, Poland