Funding Organisation: European Commission, DG Research
Cooperation: There are more than 60 partners from all over Europe involved in NEEDS.
Key partners (research stream leaders) are
Project duration: September 2004 to August 2008 (completed 2009)
Contact: Dr. Wolfram Krewitt
Overall objectives of NEEDS
The ultimate objective of the NEEDS Integrated Project 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:
Based on current state-of-the-art, achieving such advancements requires a sizeable innovation effort in a number of research fields, including:
The Integrated Project is built as a series of “streams”, each addressing a specific area of research. Innovation and S&T advancement lie both within each stream and in their overall integration:
Research Stream Integration:
Ultimately, NEEDS will allow to calculate full (direct + external) cost / benefit equilibrium solutions of future energy systems, for the EU as a whole as well as for each individual MS/NAS, where the trade-offs among “cradle to grave” energy security, global and local environment protection, full economic costs are balanced. This stream has therefore been primarily designed to target the integration of analytical methods for full cost assessment. This will be achieved by integrating three well established quantitative methodologies into a new single framework to be widely diffused among researchers and policy analysts:
Research Stream 1a: Life cycle approaches to assess emerging energy technologies
Research Stream will provide data on costs and life cycle inventories (material and energy flows from the entire life cycle, and resulting environmental interventions like emissions, land use, etc.) for emerging energy technologies, with a strong focus on long term technical developments (time horizon 2050). A new methodological framework for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of future technologies is developed by combining prospective methods that are used to reflect technological change (like Technology Foresight and Experience Curves) with the traditional LCA approach. The direct link to scenario modelling will allow a direct feedback between changes in the overall energy system and the life cycle inventories of specific technologies (dynamic LCA).
Research Stream 1b: Development and improvement of a methodology to estimate external costs of energy
Objective is to further develop, improve and extend the methodology for calculating energy externalities, and in particular:
Research Stream 1c: New externalities associated to the extraction and transport of energy
The objective of this stream is to assess the externalities associated with the initial stages of fuel cycles that provide energy for final use. This includes extraction of oil and gas, as well as transport of oil (including oil spills), gas, electricity and other energy vectors such as hydrogen.
Research Stream 1d: Extension of the geographical coverage
This research stream mainly aims at bringing additional countries up to par with those (mainly EU) for which the current state of knowledge on energy externalities is more advanced, primarily as the result of the ExternE work.
The Countries targeted here a group of NAC (Newly Associated Countries, and other Central and Eastern European Countries) and of MPC (Mediterranean Partner Countries)
The main aim is to present scientifically sound and reasonable economic instruments for environmental protection and sustainable development, with significant focus on the environmental fiscal/tax reform in particular that will lead to more efficient and sustainable economies.
Research Stream 2a: Energy systems modelling and internalisation strategies, including scenarios building
This stream aims at generating via The Integrated MARKAL- EFOM System (TIMES) partial equilibrium technology rich economic models of each MS/NAC and of the EU as a whole including, in their long term development, the most important emissions, materials, and damage functions used by LCA and ExternE.
Using the key base data received from the other streams, for each energy security, environment protection and economic development target, this stream calculates equilibrium quantities and prices and provides them to the other streams iteratively, till compatible values are reached.
Research Stream 2b: Energy technology roadmap and stakeholders perspective
The general objectives of this Research Stream (RS) are: (1) To identify, discuss and analyse the terms and conditions (including barriers and enablers) for an effective formulation and implementation of long term strategies based on the internalisation of external costs; (2) To broaden the basis for decision support beyond the assessment of external costs by examining the robustness of results under various stakeholder perspectives. From the technical point of view the stream should also contribute to the integration of results generated by other analytical tasks within the project.
The specific objectives are:
Research Stream 3a: Transferability and generalisation
The overall objective of this Research Stream is to develop a simple way of calculating, transferring and present the uncertainty of default values for average/aggregate external costs, that can be used for energy modelling, assessing different technologies and energy systems, LCA (especially for renewable energy characterised by direct aesthetic and ecosystem/biodiversity impacts), cost-benefit analyses, green accounting and other policy advice. Full energy chains need to be considered in line with the scope of external cost assessment.
 This tool is being developed by the Energy Technology Systems Analysis Programme, which is an Implementing Agreement of the International Energy Agency in Paris, to which the majority of EU member states participates.