Future Energy Program

Future Energy Program (FEP)

The Future Energy Program (FEP) aims to carry out interdisciplinary, scientifically sound, prospective and policy-oriented applied research, targeted at political and business decision makers.

This aim is achieved through an integrated quantitative and qualitative analysis of energy scenarios and policies.

This interdisciplinary approach puts together the major factors driving the change in global energy dynamics (i.e. technological, economic, geopolitical, institutional and sociological aspects).

FEP applies this methodology to a wide range of issues – such as: energy demand and supply, infrastructures, financing, market analyses, new business models, socio-economic impacts of energy policies.

In particular, FEP is structured along three main research lines: i) Global energy transition; ii) Energy geopolitics; iii) Energy in Africa.

With the ‘Global energy transition’ research line, FEP investigates technological, economic and other challenges and opportunities related to the energy transition both in the developed world as well as in the developing world. For example, some key issues presently analyzed in this research line include the decarbonisation of the transport sector as well as the decarbonisation of natural gas. FEP tackles the first subject developing a quantitative model to evaluate the evolution of energy consumption and environmental impacts in the transport sector. It also carries-out specific analyses focused on alternative decarbonisation pathways and digitalization scenarios, to compare the impacts of different solutions and define proper policy recommendations. FEP tackles the second subject by assessing the supply and demand potential of integrating hydrogen, biogas and biomethane in the available natural gas infrastructure to support the decarbonisation of heating and cooling and other sectors. It compares alternative technology solutions to evaluate the energy, environmental and economic aspects throughout the value chain of hydrogen, biogas and biomethane production, transmission, storage and conversion to final energy uses.

With the ‘Energy geopolitics’ research line, FEP monitors and analyses the main energy-related geopolitical and geoeconomic dynamics occurring in particular in the following regions: Europe, Russia, Central Asia, MENA, Africa but also globally. In addition tot he geopolitics and geoeconomics of oil and gas, this line it also examines how the global shift to renewable energy and more generally decarbonization is disrupting the global energy system, impacting economies and changing the political and economic dynamics within and between countries. Particular attention is given to investigate the potential impacts on main oil and gas producing and consuming countries, as well as to investigate the geopolitical and geoeconomic issues related to the minerals underpinning the clean energy transition.

With the ‘Energy in Africa’ research line, FEP investigates key energy issues for the continent. As an example of activities in this research line, we can mention the role of geospatial planning in energy access, the role of digital technologies in fostering energy access and the outlook for hydropower in Africa. FEP tackles the first subject using spatial analysis and data (including night-time lights, population, location of infrastructure, land cover) to determine electricity demand hotspots (e.g. provinces without access with a fast-growing population), keep track of progress toward electricity access at a local scale, and assess least-cost solutions for access provision to inform policymakers. FEP tackles the second subject analysing the current role of digitalization and its future opportunities in accelerating the electrification process and modernizing the energy infrastructure, also providing policy recommendations to address the efforts and prevent possible risks. Finally, FEP tackles the third subject by assessing the challenges of the nexus between hydropower and climate change also looking at defined case-studies.

Research Program and Team
Scientific coordinator

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