Identifying New Societal Trends impacting future energy demand


Consumers and behavioural change
Efficient and resilient energy system
Energy savings obligation, monitoring and verification


The newTRENDs project is developing the analytical basis for a “2050 Energy Efficiency Vision” taking into account New Societal Trends that may have a significant impact on energy demand in the European countries. The aim of this vision is to increase the qualitative and quantitative understanding of impacts of these New Societal Trends on energy consumption and to improve the modeling of energy demand, energy efficiency and policy instruments to increase the ability of policy makers to guide those trends in the light of the Paris Agreement and the long-term climate and energy targets of the European Union. Exploring the future impact of these New Societal Trends implies that not only technoeconomic scenarios have to be investigated but also scenarios focusing on changes in life-style, the impact of a shared economy, etc. Additionally, the impacts of cross-sectoral changes are to be analyzed, as many Megatrends are expected to have an impact on the currently applied structure of the energy demand categories (i.e. industry, transport, buildings and services).

The goal of the newTRENDs project is to enhance existing energy demand models to the extent that they are able to model the influence of new social trends on energy demand, and hence to develop scenarios of their future development. The digitalization of the economy and private life (including new and smarter ways for private households to consume, produce and manage their own energy), investments in autonomous electric cars and other transport reforms, the circular economy, creation of a low-carbon industry, and the sharing economy, particularly in transport and the tertiary sector – these are examples of trends that are expected to have a great impact on increasing or reducing energy demand in the European Union in the coming years.

New Societal Trends are understood as societal developments arising from general Megatrends, which can have potentially large (increasing or decreasing) impacts on energy consumption as well as cross-sectoral demand shifts. Those New Societal Trends are not simply the extrapolation of already presently observed trends (“continuous or linear trends”) but may take up speed when they are embraced by larger parts of the society (“disruptive or non-linear trends”). Trends that are potentially disruptive and might alter current sectoral dynamics include the following:

  • transition of consumers to prosumagers,
  • move towards a Circular Economy and a low-carbon industry,
  • digitalization of the economy and of private lives,
  • trends towards a shared economy.


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