Renewable energy in Austria: Modelling possible development trends until 2020

The project investigates possible economic, social and environmental effects of a sustainable energy policy. Within a participatory modelling process a sustainability model is used to simulate different energy scenarios (with a focus on renewable energy technologies) for Austria until 2020.

Short Description




The project investigates possible economic, social and environmental effects of an increasing use of renewable energy resources for heat and power. A macro-econometric multi-sector model is used to simulate five different energy scenarios with a focus on renewable energy technologies for Austria until 2020.

The process of scenario modelling (from the development of scenarios to the dissemination of the modelling results) integrates participative elements, since stakeholders (representatives of interests, politicians, experts) in energy policy and supply are actively involved in the scientific work. Therefore, the research and decision process is not only build upon work of researchers, but also integrates knowledge, expertise and preferences of stakeholders.

Project contents

In order to analyse the research question the planned project comprises two main topics, first the development of a simulation model, and second its application within a participatory modelling process.

In the first instance a simulation model will be developed that integrates energy, environment and economy in one modelling framework. The model then serves as basis for quantifying the effects of different scenarios of a more ambitious use of renewable energy technologies in Austria. The simulation of the scenarios allows identifying winners and losers of different technologies and potential political measures and thus deriving a co-ordinated mix of different technologies and measures capable to reach the goal of a higher share of renewables with sustainable economic growth, social stability and environmental protection. The modelling results assist political decision makers in their choice of suitable instruments and measures, by regarding and quantifying systematic conflicting aims between the different dimensions of sustainable development within one consistent framework.

In order to reach a praxis-oriented and transparent modelling process, stakeholders are integrated in the scientific work process during the whole project. With the help of this participatory character the project promotes the intensive exchange of experiences between researchers on the one hand and users of the results from policy, economy and society on the other hand. This enables a reality-based illustration of the potential of renewable energy resources. Furthermore, the involvement of different actors of energy supply and policy with their different interests and values represents a crucial element of a democratic decision process towards a sustainable energy future. In this respect the project contributes to the connection of science and practice by improving the dialogue between stakeholders and researchers and by enhancing the transparency of modelling.

Expected results

One important result is the simulation model, that integrates energy, environment and economy in a consistent way and is thus especially suitable, to analyse the promotion of renewable energy.

The result of scenario modelling is a quantitative estimation of the effects of different renewable energy technologies and potential political measures. Based on this knowledge we can derive and determine a sustainable mix of technologies and policy measures. Thus, the results can be used to evaluate the different scenarios of future developments. Based on these scenario evaluations, policy recommendations can be formulated, how the different objectives of a higher share of renewable energy can best be reconciled.

Project Partners

Project leader:
Friedrich Hinterberger (SERI)

SERI Nachhaltigkeitsforschungs und -kommunikations GmbH

Contact address:
Andrea Stocker
Garnisongasse 7/27, 1090 Wien
Tel: +43 1 9690728 18
Fax: +43 1 9690728 17

Project partners:

  • Gesellschaft für Wirtschaftliche Strukturforschung mbH (GWS), Osnabrück, Deutschland
  • CEPE - Centre for Energy Policy and Economics, ETH Zürich