The goal of newTRENDs is to recognize and model the influence of new social trends on energy needs demand, and hence develop scenarios of their future development.
The digitalization of the economy and private lives (including new and smarter ways for private households to consume, produce and manage their own energy), the circular economy, the creation of a low-carbon industry, and the sharing economy particularly in the transport and the tertiary sectors (including investments in autonomous electric cars) – these four trends are expected to have a significant impact on increasing or reducing energy demand in the European Union in the coming years.
New social trends may affect not only the amount of energy consumed, but also its preferred form by consumers, or the time period of the greatest burden on the energy grid. The larger the sections of society that succumb to these changes, the greater the evolution will take place throughout the energy system.
Researchers will use qualitative (foresight) methods with quantitative cross-sectoral modelling. This combination is not widely applied so far and is a great strength of the newTRENDs project. However, the quantitative models that will be enhanced in this project are tools that are quite frequently used by the EU for long-term forecasting. To make the analysis as accurate as possible, researchers will also use modern sources of data on social trends and energy consumption.