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Rethinking Economic Energy Policy Research – Developing Qualitative Scenarios to Identify Feasible Energy Policies

Original scientific paper

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
ARTICLE IN PRESS (volume, issue and page numbers will be assigned later)
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13044/j.sdewes.d8.0331 (registered soon)
Franziska M. Hoffart1 , Elias-Johannes Schmitt2, Michael W.M. Roos2
1 Institute for Macroeconomics Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum, Germany
2 Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum, Germany

Abstract

To accelerate deep decarbonisation in the energy sector, the discipline of economics should focus on identifying feasible instead of optimal policies. To do so, economic analysis should include four features: (1) complexity, (2) non-economic aspects, (3) uncertainty, (4) stakeholders. The aim of this paper is to show that qualitative scenario analysis represents a promising alternative to conventional optimisation approaches and meets these requirements. This paper develops qualitative scenarios for the case study of gas infrastructure modifications with hydrogen and carbon capture and storage technologies in Germany. In the results, the six socio-economic qualitative scenarios are described in more detail. A comparison between the case study and a conventional approach reveals three limitations of the latter and highlights the value of qualitative scenario development. The authors distil the advantages of qualitative scenario analysis and discuss challenges and chanced, that go beyond the case study. In conclusion, developing socio-technical scenarios has a large potential to improve economic policy assessment. It also allows to catch up with the rethinking of energy research taking place in other disciplines.

Keywords: Economic policy analysis, Energy system transformation, Qualitative scenario analysis, Economic foresight, Participatory scenario development, Energy policy, Deep decarbonisation.

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