Posts Tagged ‘families’

EFP Brief No. 144: US Families 2025: Trends and Alternative Futures

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

In response to a call for papers on the future of feminism from Futures, the international scholarly journal of Futures Studies, an informal workshop was organized to explore changes to US families and how the roles of men, women and children might be influenced by such forces. The ‘US Families 2025’ workshop was conducted entirely on a volunteer basis and provided opportunity for both newcomers and experts in the field of futures studies to engage in foresight and futures methodology. The outcomes of the workshop were analysed from the perspective of futures literature and feminist theory to arrive at the article ‘US Families 2025: In Search of Future Families’ published in Futures issue number 40 (2008) for the purpose of broadening the insights to and interpretations of the future with particular regard for gender as it relates to roles within marriage, reproduction, childhood and parenting.

Gender, ‘Family Values’ and the Future of the American Nuclear Family

In Janurary of 2005, George W. Bush was inaugurated to his second term as President of the United States. The red state (conservative) vs. blue state (liberal) divide seemed to influence a prevailing mood of culture wars, a contentious environment of leadership wielding power (and threatening to use it) over matters such as women’s reproductive freedom, children’s access to public education and a ‘marriage amendment’ legislating the rights to wed – or not wed – to spouse of one’s choice. To outlaw abortion, ban gay marriage, cut off funding for children’s healthcare and starve social spending on education seemed an assault on the American family, not ac hampioning of it. The sense that the US family had been exhaustively exploited as a pawn for political gain contributed to the idea behind US Families 2025: that an organized effort to explore fundamental changes impacting the family unit provided an opportunity to work on implications for the future of gender and offer social critique, as well as offer recommendations toward addressing various challanges of social inequality in the US

Project Background

There are tow parts to the project: a workshop and a research/writing endeavour. The workshop US Families 2025 set out to achieve two objectives. The first was to provide an event for interested participants to explore the future of families. An open invitation was extended to a futurist community via university listserv. All who wished to attend were welcomed as voluntary participants. In this sense, the objective was to engage any and all individuals in the local futurist community who felt the topic was of importance. THe workshop was designed to collect and organize information about trends and emerging issues as they relate to US families.

There was an informal guiding process, but the exercise was mainly an opend-ended exploration of family- including marriage, childbirth, divorce, cohabitation, caretaking, domestic life and cltural norms – as reflective of wider social patterns,and the driving forces shaping the future of the US family unit. Families were defined as households with or without children, including single parents, ‘traditional’ two-parent households, same-sex partners, unmarried cohabitating couples, and arrangements of anything other than a single person living alone. Lists of trends, emerging issues and four briefly outlined alternative futures were the output of the workshop. The workshop was held with the intent of publishing the results and workshop participants were invited to contribute to the writing.

The second part involved analysis of the workshop outcomes with special attention to the implications for the future of feminism. The scenarios were interpreted with the role of gender in mind, supported with feminist theory and relevant futures literature. The desired end result was a publishable submission for the journal Futures in a special issue on gender.

Workshop: US Families 2025

Workshop attendees were all from the Houston, Texas area, associated in some manner with the University of HoustonClear Lake (UHCL) graduate program offering a Master of Science degree in Studies of the Future. Participants in the workshop were drawn from the student population, alumni and faculty.  The workshop followed a simple format of brainstorming, trend identification, and discussion of emerging issues and led up to a follow up session for outlining four future scenarios based on a Global Business Network (GBN) methodology. The workshop was facilitated informally, eliciting responses from the participants based on a worksheet called ‘Big Questions about the Future’ designed by Dr. Peter Bishop of UHCL. A second meeting consisted of group collaboration on a GBN scenario exercise. Important uncertainties about the future of US families were identified; discussion of driving forces and four scenarios emerged.

Although the workshop was not largely publicized, the stakeholders may be defined as the entire US society at large. The topics of family and gender equality have impacts at personal and political levels. The ideas explored in the study might be of interest to policy makers, market researchers, family counsellors, activists and individuals making conscious decisions about family organizations. Religious, political and educational leaders may find the topic relevant to their audiences. As a contribution to the futures literature on the study of women and society, the subject is relevant to students and practitioners of futures studies with an interest in social change.

Four Alternative Futures

Four future scenarios resulted from the US Families 2025 Workshop, resulting from a GBN-inspired scenario exercise where the two main uncertainties (economic conditions and culture wars) are represented in the axes. The horizontal axis describes two extremes regarding future financial conditions: scarcity and long-boom economics. The vertical axis reflects the two camps in the culture wars: progressive and orthodox, which may also be seen as liberal vs. conservative or so-called ‘traditional family values’. The table below illustrates the scenario quadrants and their characteristics:


The scenarios each represent a quadrant of the GBN matrix in which two uncertainties were compared: economic conditions and the status of the Culture Wars. Each scenario reflects an extreme interaction of the two major uncertainties, a tactic that helps intensify the scenarios and generate urgency about the role of gender equality in terms of social/family structure.

Each of the scenarios also addresses a set of trends and emerging issues about the future of families. The trends are interspersed throughout the alternative future storylines and gain direction from the plot of the scenario. A conscious effort was made to cover economic, social/demographic and technological changes with the potential to impact the future of US families, and likewise be impacted. Emerging issues, such as the matter of workplace policies on employee absenteeism due to caretaker responsibilities, were addressed in terms of how resolution of the issue in one direction or another would impact social patterns.

Selected Trends and Emerging Issues

  • Smaller families having fewer children.
  • Workplaces appealing to need for work-family balance.
  • Number of single parent households, both male and female, increasing.
  • Increasing status of fatherhood.
  • Gender selection of offspring technology being utilized.
  • Growing perception of demonstrable skills required for marriage and parenting.
  • Merging/blending of office and home spaces.
  • Increased use of government-funded financial incentives for marriage between men and women.
  • Workplace absences due to caretaker responsibilities gaining attention as policy matter.
  • Increased number of households located in exurbs and edge cities.
  • Continued late age of parenting and marriage.
  • Highly educated women participating in child-rearing rather than careers.

Scenario Descriptions and Implications

The intent of the scenario analysis is to offer insights along the lines of the future of the nuclear family, marriage, childbearing, child-rearing, nurturing and care-giving, and the relationship between domestic/household arrangements and the status of women in society.

1. Mr. And Mrs. Right Now

Transient relationships and equal economic partnerships between spouses amidst a backdrop of socially recognized nonkin emotional bonds characterize the scenario. There is an emergence of sharing economic and emotional resources to meet familial needs, particularly those of children.

Implications: In this future, adults beyond biological parents are permitted greater and more intimate access to children’s lives. The implications of the dissolving of nuclear households could be either negative or positive for children, but it could balance the domestic responsibilities between men and women. Men gain appreciation for nurturing and care-giving with children and the elderly, which improves the empathy between men and women.

2. Marriage Marketplace

Arguably a ‘baseline’ scenario in which contracts, resumes and proven competencies determine partnerships formed for the purpose of reproduction, cohabitation, marriage and childrearing.

Implications: Marriage Marketplace hints at the potential for children to become valued only as material possessions, while men and women exist solely as commodities of the marketplace. The exaggeration of masculine and feminine is possible. Genetic trait selection, breeding and strict technological control over reproduction and offspring are possible.

3.The New Waltons for the 21st Century

Named for a popular 1970s television programme celebrating the ‘traditional’ American family, this scenario observes the extinction of dual-income families and the nuclear household.

4. Desperate Housewives

Women’s rights to reproductive freedom, employment and divorce are challenged in this future. Men obtain elevated status based on the number of offspring they claim. Financial incentives for marriage and childbearing are distributed as government stipends; the US childbirth rate explodes.

Implications: The elimination of extended family ties amidst overt patriarchy fractures contemporary women’s liberation. For men, a large number of children bolsters one’s social status; for women, they represent their lost access to birth control. Both women and men who deviate from the sociallyprescribed gender norms are alienated.

Trends, critical uncertainties and emerging issues were taken to extremes to develop unexpected ideas about the future. For example, arranged marriages emerge in the New Waltons scenario as an expression of economic scarcity combined with stridently orthodox cultural values. Evoking such an unlikely event challenges the audience. The strategy of introducing seemingly implausible connections between gender and social equality to alternative methods of family and domestic social organization has the capacity to generate change in the present.

Important cultural differences exist between the US and the rest of the world in terms of families and relationships. At the onset of outlining the scenarios it was clear that many of the family forms we could project into the future probably already exist in other cultures. For example, while extended family is a norm in many cultures, it is all but obsolete in the US. However, immigrants from Latin America challenge the nuclear family with their extended households. Meanwhile many young children today are being raised by aunts, uncles and grandparents in the absence of biological parents. So the study avoids trying to identify anything ‘new’ about families. In fact, it may be impossible to construct anything new at all about families. The value of foresight to raise awareness about the present – for instance, conduct social critique – while imparting a sense of change, is strengthened by the potential to increase cultural sensitivity.

Feminist Theory:
Alternative Family Futures  and Visions of Gender Equality

Feminist social critique of the US has often identified the family and women’s role in it as central to women’s disenfranchisement. This analysis of the US Families 2025 scenarios, in terms of the future of gender equality, acknowledges mainly just one feminist premise: women’s reproductive, marital and domestic roles define her social status. Multiple theories for the advancement of female equality exist, thus there are multiple frames of interpretation applicable to the scenarios. Each particular theory may be viewed as representing a utopian ‘vision’ for the future of female equality. New social implications are drawn out of each alternative future under the theoretical ‘lens’ lent by a given ‘feminism’. Furthermore, this approach offers the suggestion that new theories of gender equality will continue to emerge and challenge women’s roles in society.

Liberal feminism can be defined as legal equality for women. From this view, the Marriage Marketplace scenario may be most preferable, since men and women have equal access to the marriage and family life of their choice. Family roles are flexible and impermanent, unlike the New Waltons future where matrimony suggests females are the property of men. Similarly, the Desperate Housewives alternative strips women of their right to divorce at will. The harsh economic conditions of Mr. & Mrs.

Right Now offer the opportunity to cooperate with male (or female) partners, although there is also the threat of highly competitive conditions emerging.

Utopian feminism maintains that women’s unique characteristics are a form of social power. The potential for all women to express their autonomy is erased by the patriarchal slant of New Waltons and Desperate Housewives. A celebration of feminine qualities is observed in Mr. & Mrs. Right Now, since men and women alike take on child-rearing as a valuable and essential task. The value of nurturing activity, meanwhile, becomes more complicated in the Marriage Marketplace.

Marriage and child-rearing are separate roles with different qualifications and neither may be entered without consent and understanding of the terms under which these roles will be enacted.

Marxist feminism looks upon the US capitalist system as a hindrance to female equality. Mr.& Mrs. Right Now demonstrates a future where capitalism largely suffers, suggesting this as a preferred future for Marxist feminism. Marriage Marketplace is a capitalist haven where women’s authority over their own fate is respected and equal access to capital is the norm. Marxist feminists may not condone the free-market approach to gender equality, though. Desperate Housewives and The New Waltons commit women’s fate to reproductive and domestic slavery, thus a far cry from the Marxist school of thought concerning women’s rights.

Postmodern feminism interprets the marginalization of women as a by-product of the worldview where man is ‘self’ and woman is ‘other’. Only the Mr. & Mrs. Right Now scenario pulls away from this duality by the introduction of communal households and childrearing. In the Marriage Marketplace, women can slip into commodity status, while the New Waltons and Desperate Housewives futures portray women as little more than baby-

making servants. The New Waltons in particular emphasizes the role of fathers in objectifying women by strategically marrying-off daughters to ensure their own social status.

Radical feminism takes the position that women are universally oppressed by virtue of their sex. There is little to be optimistic about in all four alternative futures in light of this view. Radical feminists might highlight the opportunities in the Marriage Marketplace and Mr. & Mrs. Right Now to avoid men altogether by entering all-female domestic arrangements. There is also the potential to enact a revolution in the face of blatant patriarchy evident in the Desperate Housewives future scenario. Women’s complete subservience to men under the New Waltons conditions may also work to emphasize the importance of gender equality.

In Search of Feminism in Public Discourse

The premise that female equality was secured by the women’s movement of the 1960s and 70s contributes to the dismissal of gender equality in mainstream public discourse. There is a tendency to overlook the interaction between family and women’s status and emphasize educational and employment opportunities as demonstrative of the advancement of female status. However, the rights of women are routinely challenged by efforts to restrict reproductive freedom, workplace policies that minimize women’s labour through unequal pay compared to men and by fringe social movements toward returning women to their ‘rightful’ place as second-class citizens under the control of husbands and fathers. A more deliberate articulation and understanding of theories of feminism can correct the misconception that women’s equality has already been achieved. Furthermore, with a concerted effort to bring women’s rights to the table, it is possible that new theories of feminism will emerge. The application of genuine, practical and purposeful thinking about women and their social status will empower not just women but men and children as well.


Authors: Alexandra Montgomery                               
Sponsors: None
Type: Workshop, research and writing project
Organizer: Alexandra Montgomery
Duration: 2005-2006
Budget: n.a.
Time Horizon: 2025
Date of Brief: August 2008

Download: EFMN Brief No. 144_US Families 2025

Sources and References

US Families 2025: In Search of Future Families, Futures, Volume 40, Issue 4, May 2008, Pages 377-387

EFP Brief No. 140: Security of Energy Supply: A Quantitative Scenario Study on Future Energy Systems for the EU25 for 2030

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

The quantitative scenario study on the EU energy system focuses on the security of energy supply and different alternatives for the EU energy system. Five different scenarios for the EU25 energy system by 2030 were developed. The scenarios were then grouped into two main families called “advanced conventional” and “domestic action” and their respective pros and cons analysed with regard to all relevant EU-policy fields for providing policy recommendations.

The Dual Challenge of Climate Protection
and Security of Energy Supply

The EU currently faces two different challenges with regard to the future development of the EU energy system and the question of the ‘security of energy supply’. Firstly, the era of cheap and abundant conventional energy resources appears to be coming to an end. This means that maintaining reliable supply levels implies significant and timely investment in new and more expensive oil and gas production, which will put upward pressure on world market prices for oil, gas and, to a lesser extent, coal – with potential impacts for economic development and growth. Furthermore, the geographical concentration of oil and gas export potential, combined with newly emerging
large energy importing economies (i.e. China, India) can be expected to intensify international competition for market access to the declining resources and, ultimately, may also generate international conflicts.
Distinct from these issues, a second challenge has emerged. Climate change requires substantial reductions in global
greenhouse gas emissions, which essentially means using less energy and switching to carbon neutral energy carriers.
Both challenges require determined and timely action from the EU and its member states, as well as from the international community at large. A conventional, albeit advanced, “business as usual” (BAU) strategy is likely to face increasing problems when trying to adequately cope with these simultaneous challenges. In order to analyse important strategies and/or technology decisions (higher/lower nuclear share in electricity generation, increased energy efficiency and use of combined heating and power [CHP], increased use of renewable energies) and highlight
a range of possible future energy solutions for the EU25, five different scenarios have been developed according to the strategies and targets requested by the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE).

Five Options to Go Ahead

In order to draw different possible futures of the EU energy system, five scenarios based on two main sources were designed. The basic data, economic assumptions and the main results for the BAU scenario were derived from the latest available EU energy and transport projections (Decker 2006, Mantzos 2006, Mantzos & Capros 2006). Demand-side projections and analyses of higher penetrations of energy efficiency and renewable energies were derived from a recent scenario analysis by the Wuppertal Institute (Lechtenböhmer et al. 2005a/b). The quantification and combination of potentials, costs, strategies, policies and measures, and the calculation of scenarios were carried out using the Wuppertal Scenario Technique.

In the business as usual (BAU) scenario, the continuation of energy policy trends would already lead to a strong primary energy efficiency increase within the EU25. However, this increase would not be sufficient to compensate for growing GDP. As a consequence, primary energy demand would increase by almost 15% and import dependency by more than a third. Due to an increased share of renewable energy sources (RES) and a switch to natural gas, CO2 emissions would increase by only 3% to 6.6%, depending on the nuclear energy policy. With regard to climate policy, it is assumed in the BAU scenario that the EU25 will accept international emission reduction targets for the commitment periods after 2012 of 15% by 2020 and 30% by 2030.

The N+ scenario – as defined in accordance with the request by the ITRE committee – is a variant of the BAU scenario based on the expansion of nuclear energy (thus N+). While in the BAU scenario nuclear capacity declines by 28% from 141 GW (2000) to 101 GW in 2030, in the N+ scenario the construction of about ten more new nuclear power plants of 1300 MW each is assumed, which would result in a nuclear capacity of about 126 GW in 2030 – or 25% more than in the BAU scenario. CO2 emissions in power and steam generation decrease by about 6.6% vs. BAU by 2030, whereas total emissions from the EU25 decrease by 1.9%. Furthermore, this scenario also includes the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS), which can further reduce CO2 emissions, albeit fairly modestly in the case of the EU (another 6%~7% of the power sector emissions compared to BAU).

The N– scenario marks the other end of a range of possible nuclear energy BAU scenarios. Power plants are assumed to perform less well in this scenario and this, together with waste issues and a stronger perception of the risks of nuclear energy, combines to increase the pressure on plant operators. Consequently, no new nuclear power plants are commissioned and a in 2030. In total, CO2 emissions in this scenario would be at a level of 72 million tonnes, or 1.9%, more than in the BAU scenario by 2030.

Table 1: Comparison of the scenarios – results for 2030



CO2 emissions (% ∆


Primary energy


(% ∆


Import dependency Nuclear share in electricity



share in

PE demand

Energy effi-


growth rate

(2000 – 2030)

BAU +4.7% +14.6% 64.8% 18.7% 12.2% 1.5%/ year




+16.4% 62.7% 23.6% 12.0%
N +6.6% +12.2% 66.5% 13.8% 12.4%
EE –18.8% – 8.2% 59.8% 15.7% 15.0% 2.2%/ year
RE – 45.1% – 20.1% 49.1% 16.4% 31.4% 2.7%/ year

Source: own calculations, Wuppertal Institute, 2006


The energy efficiency (EE) scenario assumes strong policy at EU level, as well as within the member states, targeted at accelerating the rate of increase of energy efficiency in order to reach a level of energy efficiency 50% higher than in the BAU scenario by 2030. This means that energy efficiency (GDP per ktoe primary energy use) would increase by 2.2% per year and reach 10.5 MEur/ktoe in 2030 (BAU: 8.5).

The renewable energy expansion (RE) scenario describes a restructuring towards a renewable energy system with a target of approaching a renewable energy supply as high as possible by 2030. To achieve such a high share of renewable energy, the scenario combines an even stronger drive towards energy efficiency (11.9 MEur/ktoe by 2030) with an accelerated expansion strategy of renewable energies, which reach a share of 31% of total primary energy supply in 2030. This strategy depends on the feasibility of the projected 34% share of fluctuating energies (wind, hydro, solar, tidal and wave) in the electricity system and on the feasibility of accelerating energy efficiency improvement to 2.7% per year.

Policy Choices

The five scenarios developed for the study have been analysed with regard to the core energy policy fields. Brief discussions on recent trends, followed by implications for policy needs with regard to the different scenarios, have been discussed for each scenario.

The energy issues considered in this report interact directly and indirectly with many European policies, in particular the climate policy, the Lisbon strategy and the external (energy markets) policy, which do not focus exclusively on energy but function as framework policies. These policy areas with wider scope can significantly influence the feasibility of potential pathways for the development of the energy system. In addition to these crosscutting policies, the following key energy policies are touched upon in the study: single European energy market, energy efficiency, renewable energies and energy technology policy.

Policies on EU External Energy Markets

The comparison of scenarios with regard to policies on EU external energy markets shows that quite different challenges lie ahead in each scenario. In the BAU scenario – and in both nuclear scenarios – particular emphasis would be needed on external energy supply through the establishment of stable political relations with oil and gas producing countries and (for gas) transit countries and the mobilisation of huge investments– most of all for natural gas. In BAU/N+ the extended efforts to promote clean energy technology transfer in conjunction
with a widening use of emission trading (notably the EU’s emission trading system and clean development mechanism)
are, to some extent, favourable to global stability but, on the other hand, also need global political stability.
The energy efficiency scenario and a fortiori the renewable energy expansion scenario would significantly relieve the
pressure on external supplies to the EU due to decreased imports, while offering additional options to mitigate the worldwide depletion of fossil resources.

Single European Energy Market

In spite of the general current policy lines for the creation of the legal and technical provisions for a single European energy market, which are important in all scenarios and have still to be developed, quite different challenges would lie ahead in each scenario. In the BAU scenario – and in both nuclear scenarios – current
policy trends would have to be pursued and even accelerated. Large investment would be needed for improvements of gas
and electricity networks – about € 45 bn to € 50 bn for electricity grid investment including cross-border transmission, about € 11 bn to € 14 bn for long distance gas transmission, gas storage and liquefied natural gas terminals (CESI et al. 2005) and about € 800 bn over the 25-year scenario period for huge replacements in the existing stock of condensing power plants. The energy efficiency scenario and, to an even greater extent,
the renewable energy expansion scenario would present significant new challenges regarding accelerating progress in
energy efficiency and the restructuring of the energy system towards higher shares of renewable energy sources and of
CHP in district heating and industry. Grid investments for electricity would be expected to be near the upper limit of the above-mentioned numbers, while those for natural gas would approach the lower end. Investments for new power generation would be 20% lower in the EE scenario than in the BAU scenario and 10% lower in the RE scenario. In the RE scenario the effect of much lower capacity is partly offset by higher cost per kilowatt installed. Furthermore, investment would be completely different. While even in the BAU scenario investments in new CHP and renewable capacities are projected to overtake investments in fossil and nuclear generation, the latter will stand in the EE scenario for only 20% of total investment and in the RE scenario for less than 10%.

Policy for Energy Efficiency

The comparison of the current EU policy towards energy efficiency with the three scenarios – BAU, EE and RE – shows
some crucial results. The current EU demand side energy efficiency policy would (by definition) be sufficient in many fields to realise the BAU scenario as well as the two nuclear scenarios N+/N–. However, particularly in the transport sector, in electrical appliances and in industry, further action would be needed. Further action would be necessary as well to protract these policies until 2030. On the other hand, the current political targets with
respect to energy efficiency, as set out by the Green Paper “Doing more with less” and the Energy End-Use Efficiency
Directive, would not be achieved in the BAU scenario. A much stronger policy for energy efficiency in the EU would
be needed in order to meet the energy efficiency and the renewable energy expansion scenarios. This policy would have to instigate strong and rapid action in order to implement ambitious efficiency targets close to the technical optimum, introduce further stepwise improvements in the energy efficiency of cars, appliances, buildings and businesses, strengthen technology development and provide substantial financial support and appropriate institutions. The evolution in energy market design would also affect the progress in energy efficiency and renewable
energy use by affecting end use prices, investment in new and efficient (CHP) generation capacity and the prospects for the introduction of demand side management policies.

Policy for Renewable Energies

It is assumed that the EU will pursue a very active policy to promote renewable energies in all scenarios. As the analysis of the existing policy shows, broad additional activities are indispensable even in the BAU scenario. However, in this scenario – as in all the others apart from the RE scenario – set targets will be missed and the EU would have to solve the problem of further fostering a supportive framework for renewable energies
against a background of possible disappointment. In the renewable energy expansion scenario on the other hand,
both current targets and ambitious targets for the future (20% in 2020, 35% in 2030) are achievable. However, the scenario also illustrates that these targets require a substantial restructuring of the whole energy system and economy by using the opening window of opportunity presented by the ageing energy system and its subsequent high reinvestment need. It appears that current policy for renewable energy – in spite of its impressive success – is not yet in a position to implement the changes needed for the realisation of this scenario.

Conclusion and Policy Implications

Two Ways to Go

The scenarios discussed in this report can be grouped into two main strategies.

The first type of strategy could be called “advanced conventional”. This route is described by the BAU scenario combined with the N+ scenario and specific greenhouse gas mitigation options of carbon capture and storage and, particularly, the use of clean technology transfer and other flexible mechanisms to achieve emission reductions outside the EU.

The other type of strategy, “domestic action”, relies much more on the domestic potential of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency and seems to have the capability to adequately cope with both major challenges so that the risks emanating from these are significantly lower.

Both strategies have crucial preconditions that may pose severe challenges to their feasibility. The advanced conventional strategy crucially relies on the successful implementation of an active foreign energy and technology transfer policy. Strong international competition for energy resources may become an increasing threat for this crucial foreign policy link. However, this scenario would carry less risk with respect to the management of change inside the domestic European society, since changes tend to be less radical than in alternative scenarios. The domestic action strategy, on the other hand, would swap, to some extent, the external threats from climate change and geopolitical turmoil for bigger challenges with respect to the management of the more radical changes inside the domestic European society (i.e. within the EU and its member states). More specifically, this strategy would stand or fall on the successful restructuring of the EU energy system and the bulk of all investment decisions.

Robust Strategies

In spite of the diverging, and at least partly mutually exclusive, directions in which energy policy could steer (energy) policy choices, there are a number of policy actions that would be required in any strategy and which differ only in terms of intensity. Consequently, these policy areas should be given high priority for securing energy supply regardless of the strategy prioritised.

  • The first strategy is enhancing demand side energy efficiency including cogeneration.
  • The next robust option concerns renewable energies. All the scenarios assume high increases in this area as well, particularly in wind power generation and biomass use. What is more, some policies are already partly in place and the current targets on the EU level already correspond to a very ambitious RE scenario, but need to be supported by stronger policies and expanded by 2020 and 2030.
  • In the energy market overall, and taking into account the efforts being made to enhance energy efficiency, it is also important that retail pricing of electricity appropriately reflect its scarcity and emission impacts on the wholesale market.
  • Robust steps towards a future EU external energy and climate policy include the fostering of clean development and clean technology transfer, as this will strengthen international relations, partly relieve demand pressure on energy markets, create additional or strategically needed emission credits and expand markets for renewable and efficiency technologies, which would, in turn, support the domestic development of these technologies.


Authors: Stefan Lechtenböhmer

Maike Bunse 

Adriaan Perrels

Karin Arnold, Stephan Ramesohl, Anja Scholten, Nikolaus Supersberger

Sponsors: European Parliament, Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), IP/A/ITRE/ST/2005-70
Type: Single issue
Organizer: Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Energy, Environment, Doeppersberg 19, 42103 Wuppertal, Germany,; Government Institute for Economic Reasearch VATT, Arkadiankatu 7, 00101 Helsinki, Finland,
Duration: 01/2006-08/2006
Budget: n.a.
Time Horizon: 2030
Date of Brief: April 2008

Download: EFMN Brief No. 140_ Security of Energy Supply

Sources and References

Cesi et al. (2005): Centro Elettrotecnico Sperimentale Italiano, Instituto de

Investigacion Tecnologica, Mercados Energeticos, Ramboll TENEnergy Invest.

Decker, M. (2006): New (2005) Energy Baseline, Presentation to National Emission Ceilings and Policy Instruments Working Group, Meeting on 1. 2. 2006.

Lechtenböhmer, et al. (2005a): Target 2020, Policies and Measures to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, Scenario analysis on behalf of WWF-European Policy Office, Wuppertal, Brussels.

Lechtenböhmer et al. (2005b): Energy efficiency as a key element of the EU’s post-Kyoto strategy: results of an integrated scenario analysis. In: Energy savings: what works & who delivers, ECEEE 2005 Summer Study Proceedings; volume 1. Stockholm: Europ. Council for an EnergyEfficient Economy, 2005, p. 203-212.

Lechtenböhmer et al. (2006): Security of Energy Supply – The Potential and Reserves of Various Energy Sources, Technologies Furthering Self Reliance and the Impact of Policy Decisions. Study on behalf of the European Parliament. IP/ITRE/ST/2005-70.

Lechtenböhmer et al. (2007): The Blessings of Energy Efficiency in an Enhanced EU Sustainability Scenario. In: eceee 2007 Summer Study Proceedings: Saving energy – just do it! 4-9 June 2007. La Colle sur Loup, France. ISBN 978-91-633-0899-4.

Mantzos, L. (2006): PRIMES model of scenario results for the EU25, NEC-PI Meeting, July 2006, Brussels.

Mantzos, L., Capros P. (2006): European energy and Transport. Scenarios on energy efficiency and renewables, Ed.: DG TREN, Brussels.