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, environmental, 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 four main research lines: i) Global energy transition; ii) Energy geopolitics; iii) Energy in Africa; and iv) Sustainable Finance.

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 analysed in this research line include the decarbonisation of the transport sector as well as the decarbonisation of natural gas. FEP addresses the subject related to the transport sector by 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 addresses the subject related to the decarbonization of natural gas 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 to the geopolitics and geoeconomics of oil and gas, this research line 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 water-energy-food-environment nexus in Africa. FEP tackles the subject related to energy access in Africa using spatial analysis and data (including night-time lights, population, location of infrastructure, land cover) and bottom-up energy modelling to determine latent energy demand hotspots (e.g. areas without access with a fast-growing population), keep track of progress toward universal electricity access, and assess least-cost solutions for access provision to inform policymakers. FEP addresses the subject related to digital technologies 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 addresses the subject of the water-energy-food-environment nexus in Africa by, analysing , modelling, and planning for a sustainable multi-sectoral development, with a specific attention on the cross-sectoral dependencies between the energy sector, water and agriculture, food security, and climate change.

With the ‘Sustainable Finance’ research line, FEP addresses on the one side the challenge of how to finance the global energy transition in both in developing as well as developed countries, and on the other side how to finance the challenge of energy access, in particular in Africa. This research line analyses the risk matrix associated with different types of investments, explores its mitigation potential, assesses the different available funds and their conditionalities, and explores possibilities to enhance and chanel available finance at the international and national, public and private level, for the huge financing needs for the global energy transition and energy access in Africa.

Ongoing Projects
Assessment of the Energy-Water-Climate-Food Nexus in Africa (NEXUS-A)
Research project Ongoing Project
June 2018 / June 2021
Assessment of the Energy-Water-Climate-Food Nexus in Africa (NEXUS-A)
Research Program and Team
Scientific coordinator

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