VERA – Forward Visions on the European Research Area

VERA is funded by the European Union's FP7 programme for research,
technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 290705

EFONET: Assessment of Energy Foresight in the EU

Code: D10

Primary project information

Lead: ISIS - Istituto di Studi per l'Integrazione die Sistemi
Additional project partners: 14 partners (11 MS) + IEA + STOA (EP)
Type of activity: FP7 Coordination Action
Date conducted: 2008-2010
Date of Publication: January 2009
Duration: 30 MONTHS
Summary: EFONET aims at assessing the knowledge and current review for a medium and long-term transition to a sustainable, secure and low carbon energy system with particular attention to the contribution that energy foresight methods can provide to policy making. It mainly seeks to investigate in the three strategic areas related to (i) the SET (Strategic Energy Technology plan), (ii) the Review of the EU Energy Strategy, and (iii) the implementation of the Action Plan for Energy Efficiency.
EFONET is set out to achieve its goals through the organisation of a structured discussion platform on energy foresight. The work will be carried out through the organisation of 19 Thematic Workshops that will be attended by the EFONET network participants and a Final Conference. The EFONET team includes 14 partners and a larger group of “external” experts (the Experts/Observers) covering 19 different countries and representing private and public research organisations, governmental and international organisations, industry, electricity utilities, University, NGOs and civil society.As its main outputs, EFONET will provide a series of policy briefs that will be devised in order to explicitly link with the objectives of the EU energy policy. In addition, it will prepare a series of Country Reports summarising SoA on energy foresight methods and their application across the EU.
Financed by: European Commission
Budget: 1,334,405 Euro
Research area/market/industry/sector: energy, foresight, energy transition
Main report (full title): EFONET Deliverable "Summary Country Reports: State of the art of MS energy foresight - transferability to European energy foresight" GIG - Glowny Instytut Gornictwa & IZT - Insitute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment & Isis - Istituto di Studi per l'Integrazione dei Sistemi


Economic Challenges: On the other side, economic objectives usually refer to the optimization of the costs of energy production and the costs to be faced in the transition to a low-carbon economy; other issues concern, for instance, attracting foreign investors for the development of the energy sector
(e.g. emerging countries like Romania).
Economic Challenges Shortlist: optimization of costs of energy production; costs to be faced in the transition to a low-carbon economy; attraction of foreign investors for the development of the energy sector (e.g. emerging countries like Romania)
Geopolitical Challenges: Specifically, this issue is
strongly related to problems of security of supply across the
European countries, depletion of fossil fuels reserves and the
subsequent risk of an unstable energy supply.
Geopolitical Challenges Shortlist: Security of energy supply
Technical Challenges: Notably, the identification of technologies is of strategic importance to a given country.
Technical Challenges Shortlist: identification of technologies to make energy transition possible
Cross-cutting Challenges: EFONET set out to assess the contribution that current knowledge
on energy foresight methods and their practical application
can provide to policy making to support the EU vision(s)
for a medium and long-term transition to a sustainable, secure
and low carbon energy system.
Cross-cutting Challenges Shortlist: transition to sustainable, secure and low carbon energy system

Summary of relevant aspects

Connecting fields: foresight methodology
Aspects of ERA Governance: An open question concerns the appropriate institutional setting of the prospective EU level foresight activities, since in the European Union there is no commonly designated foresight institution.
Other Aspects of Governance: Appropriately adopted foresight methodology determines the quality, validity and robustness of its results. The involvement of a broad range of stakeholders from different scientific, industrial or societal sectors, civil society, including citizens, has led to significant changes in the methodologies applied and in the nature of foresight results. Foresight processes must take into account knowledge, opinions and expectations as well as fears of all groups of individual and collective players it concerns.Availability of the robust input data and good quality databases on energy, economics, as well as technological aspects are also needed and require further efforts.
Background information: The study revealed a strong dynamics in the energy foresight activities across the EU Member States during the few last decades and the growing role of energy foresight in strategic planning on the national level. Early national foresight exercises aimed mainly at identifying future developments in technology and science while most recent foresight developments have shifted towards a much wider approach that attempts to incorporate into the process a broad range of aspects like environmental, economic or social. The European Commission started supporting research on energy foresight in the early seventies. These works were mostly focused on modelling techniques, but energy foresight based policy making have not yet reached the desired state of application at the central EU level. The objectives and rationale behind the EU level foresight exercises are varied, notably including rational decision making, validating current policies and targets, integration different visions on energy policy or identification of emerging technologies.


Who benefits from the actions taken?: N/A

Meta information

Time horizon: 2050
Methods: 18 Workshops and 1 Conference, preparation of country reports by national experts, survey of energy foresight studies and processes at the EC level
Target Group: EU energy foresight practitioners
Objectives: The ultimate objective of the EFONET project is to assess the contribution that current knowledge on energy foresight methods and on their practical application can provide to energy policy making, specifically in the framework of the transition towards a sustainable and low carbon energy system.
Countries covered: U.S.
ERA actors/stakeholders mentioned: EU energy foresight practitioners
Geographic scope:

Entry Details

Rapporteur: Katharina Jarmai
Rapporteur's organization: AIT
Entry Date: 23.07.2012