THE IMPACT ON ENERGY DEMAND AND THE ENERGY SYSTEM
The Meso level in BRISKEE refers to the energy-demand/energy-system level. At the energy-demand level the aim of the project was to implement the findings from the micro-level regarding consumer-decision-making in energy demand models and to provide European energy demand scenarios until 2030. These scenarios take the great variety of consumers, countries and policies into account.
Energy demand models are used widely in energy efficiency policy decision-making. Projecting long-term energy demand is an essential component in designing policies to increase energy efficiency. In order to be a useful tool, energy demand models have to provide the possibility of analyzing the impact of energy efficiency strategies and policy measures.
One of the main aims of energy efficiency policy is to reduce the barriers to the adoption of energy efficient technologies and services. Currently, a so-called energy efficiency gap is observed between the actual uptake of energy efficiency innovations and the economically optimal level (both at the individual and societal level). A variety of market imperfections and other barriers that prevent the uptake of energy efficiency innovations have been discussed and include information asymmetries, split incentives, lack of interaction between user and producer, lack of awareness, lack of upfront capital. In order to effectively support a transformation of the market, it is essential to design policies that address these barriers.
At the meso level, the project explored the impact of time discounting and risk preferences, and the impact of policies affecting those factors on technology diffusion and energy demand in the residential sector in Europe up to 2030.
In order to derive results, which reflect real world observations, the modelling procedure heavily depends on the calibration of parameters. In previous modelling, this was done based on expert guesses and the interpretation of data provided by literature in previous projects. BRISKEE, however, is using data from the BRISKEE survey. In a so-called New Actor-related Policies scenarioadditional economic energy saving potentials are realised. This scenario integrates findings from the micro-level analysis and assumes that policy measures are applied that affect the discount rates and decision behaviour of individual households.
The figure below depicts the final energy demand for the residential sector in the BRISKEE scenarios as the sum of energy demand for buildings and appliances. Compared to the current policy scenario, the energy demand in 2030 in the intensified and actor-related measures scenario decreases to 2690 TWh (-6 %) and 2642 TWh (-8 %), respectively. Some of the difference in impacts (between a scenario with and without micro-level results) arises after 2030.
Figure: Comparison of final energy for the residential sector (sum of buildings and appliances) in the BRISKEE scenarios. The intensified scenario assumes intensified but the same measures as in the current scenario. The Actor-related scenario takes BRISKEE findings into account.
Key messages for policy makers
- On the meso-level (i.e. the level of bottom-up energy system models), the results suggest that taking into account specific factors impacting on the Implicit Discount Rates leads to the realization of additional economic energy saving potentials in the New Actor-Related Scenario NAMS. This scenario integrates findings from the micro-level analysis and assumes that policy measures are applied that affect the discount rates and decision behaviour of low-income households.
- Compared to the Intensified Measures Scenario IMS (which assumes that existing measures are intensified but no actor-specific measures are applied), this presents a further improvement both with respect to energy efficiency and the penetration of renewable options in the building sector.
- In combination, the difference between the two scenarios is largest when expressed in avoided CO2
- The difference arising from the New Actor-Related Scenario NAMS is smaller for appliances covered by eco-design standards than for buildings, as the transitions to higher efficient appliances is strongly driven by minimum energy efficiency standards and, hence, the effect of discount rates in decision-making is limited.
- Multiple-benefits are important: Policies that underline the improved comfort after a building upgrade can be a strong driver towards increasing the energy performance of the building stock.
- On top of intensified energy savings policy measures, lowering household-specific barriers to invest into renewable energy technologies can significantly increase the share of renewable energy in the building stock. The simulations indicate that lowering the discounts rates of low income households would support the uptake of those technologies.
- The results also suggest that additional monetary policy measures like subsidies can further reduce final energy demand and stimulate investments in energy efficiency significantly. However, this would have to be carried out with care: a programme subsidizing the purchase of very efficient white goods appliances for low-income households in all EU member states would only lead to minor savings in the projected energy demand.
- The technical performance of the product or installation is crucial. Besides light bulbs, participants rated performance criteria as the most important criteria in almost all countries. It is, however, important not to “oversell” these technologies (e.g. heat pumps in Italy/Austria during the 80ies, early CFC’s). If the technologies are not able to fulfill the expectations of investors the technologies might run into the risk of being generally perceived as unreliable.
- Environmental criteria play a significant role in the decision process. Thus, by addressing the environmental benefits of energy efficiency technologies, the share of the population with a high(er) environmental identity can be influenced.