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Sustainable Energy Transitions Laboratory (SENTINEL) Identifies the Needs of the Energy Model Users

SENTINEL stands for Sustainable Energy Transitions Laboratory, a H2020 project that aims at designing and developing a comprehensive modelling platform, which will encompass different aspects of the future, decarbonised energy system. At the end of November last year, the project achieved an important milestone publishing its report on User needs for an energy system modeling platform for the European energy transition. This report is important from the point of view of each project dealing with energy modelling, since it outlines the importance of stakeholders’ expectations towards energy models, what in turn increases the chance that energy decision- and policymakers will use these models in deciding on decarbonisation strategies and energy policy options.

The report identifies the needs of the energy model users and the users of energy model results in policy, industry, civil society, and science, both in the present and future. Based on a comprehensive literature review, qualitative interviews in five European jurisdictions, a survey, and a workshop, it describes what different user groups need from energy models and it also identifies user needs regarding the modeling platform of SENTINEL.

The findings show that although decision-makers use energy models as support tools, existing models do not always provide the necessary information. That concerns several unmet user needs regarding

  1. model content,
  2. model design and data,
  3. modeling process, and
  4. model outreach.

The model users and users of model results have specific and defined requirements for energy models and play an essential supporting role in the European energy transition. The improvement of participation and transparency as well as the adaptation of models to the needs of users are critical aspects for models to increase their usefulness as advice instruments. Modelers and platform developers can benefit from following the ten critical implications and recommendations.

A full report will be available in few weeks onthe SENTINEL website.