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Enefirst Project Publishes a Review and Guidance for the Efficiency First principle

Efficiency  First  »(E1st) is  a  compelling  principle  of  energy  planning  as  it  seeks  to  provide  a  socially optimal  deployment  and  operation  of  demand  and  supply  side  resources.  Energy  models  play  a  vital  role  in  making  these  complexities  and  uncertainties  tangible and  enable  decision-makers  to  make  informed  decisions  on policy  design, future  technology and infrastructure investment. The Enefirst project helps making the E1st principle more concrete and operational, better understand its relevance for energy demand and supply and its broader impacts across sectors and markets, focusing on the buildings sector. 

Existing models are diverse, and the  novelty  of  the  concept  of  E1st  in  the  political  and  academic  debate,  at  present there  are  only  few  model-based  studies  that  make  explicit  reference  to  the E1st principle  and  to  its implications for quantitative modelling. The Enefirst project’s latest publication provides modellers  and  policymakers guidance  on  the concept of E1st  and existing quantitative approaches for assessing demand and supply side resources. The publication offers and overview of the E1st principle, an explicit comparison of demand and supply side resources as well as planning and policy objectives that provide a common functional unit for these assessments. It explores cost-effectiveness and the societal  perspective,  which  implies the inclusion of multiple impacts to represent the long-term social welfare effects of different resources. 

The conceptual background is backed with the thorough  description  of existing  modelling approaches associated  with  the  concept  of  E1st and it introduces two  paradigms  of  quantitative assessments for  E1st. The normative  paradigm investigates  what  resources should  be adopted  to reach an anticipated vision of the future. The exploratory paradigm seeks to project the actual adoption of demand  and  supply  side  resources.  These paradigms are then explored in the context of energy use modelling  at different levels: national,  utility,  and  buildings. The report suggests that  there  is  no  universal  model  for representing E1st and that each model-based assessment is nested in a trade-off between data needs and computational  complexity  versus  robustness  and  credibility  of  the  model  outcomes.  Finally,  the  report discusses three challenges to  modelling: 

  1. to capture a broad array of multiple impacts and to monetize them, where possible; 
  2. to apply social  discount  rates,unless a model aims to simulate actual technology adoption behaviour;
  3. to  ensure  sufficient model  detail to  represent  the  true  costs  of  supply-side  resources and the value of demand-side flexibility options.

Download the report here: https://enefirst.eu