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See detailThe Development and Utilization of Scenarios in European Union Energy Policy
Scheibe, Alexander UL

Doctoral thesis (2019)

Scenarios are a strategic planning tool, which essentially enables decision-makers to identify future uncertainties and to devise or adjust organizational strategies. Increasingly, scenario building has ... [more ▼]

Scenarios are a strategic planning tool, which essentially enables decision-makers to identify future uncertainties and to devise or adjust organizational strategies. Increasingly, scenario building has been applied as a planning instrument by public policymakers. At the European Union (EU) level, scenarios are widely used in various policy areas and for different purposes. However, the development and utilization of scenarios in policymaking as well as their concrete impact on the decision process remain an under-explored research field. The academic literature focuses on scenarios in the business domain, where they are a well-established strategic planning component. In public policy, however, the development and use of scenarios conceivably differ from the private sector. In the case of the EU, the potential impact of its distinctive multi-stakeholder and multi-level policymaking environment on the development of scenarios is not sufficiently accounted for in the literature. Moreover, it is uncertain how scenarios are situated in the wider EU political context. This thesis seeks to explain how scenarios are developed and utilized in the EU’s policymaking process. To that end, an institutionalized scenario development exercise from the Union’s energy policy (the Ten-Year Network Development Plan, TYNDP) is investigated as a case study. Drawing from empirical evidence primarily based on elite interviews, the research applies a qualitative-interpretative research framework that combines the analytical concepts of policy networks, epistemic communities, and strategic constructivism. The combination facilitates the design of a theoretical model of inner and outer spheres in EU energy policymaking, accounting for both the role of scenarios in policymaking and the impact of political goals on their development. The research concludes that the wider EU political context of the outer sphere shapes the development of scenarios in the inner sphere and determines how they are utilized in the policymaking process. The expectations of political actors frame the technical expertise in the scenario development process. With regard to the application of scenarios in wider public policy, the research demonstrates that the closer the scenario building is to the decision-making process, the stronger the political impact on the scenarios is likely to be. This is because political actors and decision-makers seek to align the scenario outcomes to their respective preferences. [less ▲]

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See detailUtilization of Scenarios in European Electricity Policy: The Ten-Year Network Development Plan
Scheibe, Alexander UL

in OIES Paper (2018)

The transformation of the European Union’s energy sector poses a number of challenges to the European electricity system. Above all, both the anticipated increase of intermittent electricity from ... [more ▼]

The transformation of the European Union’s energy sector poses a number of challenges to the European electricity system. Above all, both the anticipated increase of intermittent electricity from renewable sources and the completion of the internal energy market while guaranteeing a secure supply require an extensive development of electricity infrastructure at the European level. Nevertheless, Europe’s future electricity system entails numerous uncertainties. For example, the definite amount and the location of both electricity generation and consumption are unpredictable. In order to address these ambiguities, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) develops the two-yearly Ten-Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP). By exploring different plausible future paths using scenarios, the TYNDP aims to identify key infrastructure projects – namely transmission lines and cross-border interconnectors – for the future electricity system. In this capacity, the TYNDP is the central planning tool for European grid infrastructure. This paper explores whether the TYNDP effectively provides a solid planning foundation for future grid investments. For this end, the TYNDPs 2012-2018 are investigated in the light of European energy policies, and their utilization by stakeholders is scrutinized. The paper argues that an existing policy congruence and the strong link to the Projects of Common Interest (PCI) confine the TYNDP solely to the hardware of the electricity system. This in turn profoundly limits the TYNDP’s effectiveness as a strategic planning tool. Hence, a closer connection to the software components of the anticipated European electricity system – namely the future market design and (European) regulations – would further allow for a holistic planning and evaluation of future electricity infrastructure projects. [less ▲]

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