MODESLOW: Ref.Eco2017-85110-r. R & D projects, state program of research, development and innovation oriented to the challenges of the society

Period: 2018-2021.

Budget: € 41,140

Encouraged by the recommendations of the IPCC in its successive reports, several international organizations have appealed for countries to begin a transition towards a low-carbon economy for 2050. At the beginning of this decade, the EU became engaged to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2050 between 80 and 95 per cent compared to 1990 levels. According to MAPAMA, the GHG emissions of the Spanish economy in 2015 were 335.6 million tons CO2 eq while 1990 reached 280 million. If the average reduction of the EU is applied, this means that Spain should emit between 20 and 57.2 million tons of CO2 eq in 2050. This reduction is very remarkable and that poses challenges, both technological and socioeconomic.

The project offers a solution for the evaluation of energy and climate change that allows reducing the energy transition of Spain towards a low carbon economy in the 2030-2050 horizon. This model is called with the acronym MODESLOW. Regarding the objectives, from the analytical-methodological point of view, MODESLOW integrates the novelty of two powerful methodologies: system dynamics and input-output analysis. It is structured in seven different modules (economic module, energy, materials, land use, infrastructure, climate and social module), each of them interrelated with the rest and jointly forming an integrated system. From the point of view of public policies, the objective of the project is to quantify the economic and energy costs, as well as the effects and feedbacks of the different scenarios and public policies for GHG mitigation, both in the technological level and in the management of demand.

It should be noted that MODESLOW incorporates several novel elements with respect to existing models: 1) The combination of systems dynamics and input-output analysis in the same model; 2) analysis of the influence and effects of changes in the distribution (primary and personal) of income in Spain along the energy transition; 3) The inclusion of the financial dimension, which in its macroeconomic terms is often missing from almost all environmental integrated assessment models, and 4) the endogenous calculation of the energy returned on energy invested (EROEI), which indicates the net energy available for social and economic use after discounting the energy used in its generation .

Although at international level the research works based on systems dynamics have grown in recent years, there is hardly a model that integrates systems dynamics and input-output to simulate and evaluate all the significant variables of the system energy-economy – climate change in Spain, which represents one of the most important developments of this project. On the other hand the previous experience of the research team in applying system dynamics to global models of the energy sector will make easier to a large extent the development of the project.

Main Researchers: Óscar Carpintero and Luis J. Miguel.

Research team: Carlos de Castro, Margarita Mediavilla, Fernando Frechoso, Íñigo Capellán, Pedro Lomas, Jaime Nieto, Ignacio de Blas Sanz, Jorge García Arias, Eduardo Fernández, Xoán Doldán, Mónica Di Donato, David Pérez, Antonio García Olivares.

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