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The POLES(Prospective Outlook on Long-term Energy Systems) model is a partial equilibrium model for the world energy system up to 2050. Market equilibrium is (recursively) simulated by matching energy supply and demand which reply to changes in the international prices with a certain time lag. A feedback loop derives endogenous price changes from the supply and demand balance in the previous period. Thereby consistent long term energy-scenarios are simulated on a year-by-year basis and respective abatement policies can be economically assessed.

The model is designed by interconnected submodels at the international, regional and national level. In each region four submodels deal with (i) final energy demand by sector, (ii) new and renewable energy technologies, (iii) conventional energy and transformation system, now including Hydrogen and CO2 sequestration options, (iv) primary energy supply.

Since the model is disaggregated with respect to the regional as well as the sectoral structure, it is suitable to analyse national and international energy markets as well as inter-technology and inter-fuel substitution, in particular in the case of GHG emission constraints.[1]


Typical Model Applications:

  • world energy scenarios until 2050 in considerable detail (energy demand, supply, trade, prices - by world region)
  • inter-technology substitution over time (endogenous and exogenous technological change)
  • international energy prices
  • simulation of CO2 emission constraints (through the analysis of marginal abatement cost curves or through endogenous carbon value computation)
  • emissions trading
  • impact of technological change on emission baselines and constrained cases[1]

Sectoral coverage:

Final energy demand sectors (Substitutable Fuels (F), Electricity (E), Transport Fuels (T))

  • Industry: Steel Industry (F,E), Chemical Industry (F,E), Non Metallic Industry (F,E), Other Industries (F,E)
  • Transport: Road / passenger (T), Road / goods (T), Rail / passenger (E), Rail / goods (E), Air Transport (T), Other (T)
  • Tertiary (F,E), Residantial (F,E), Agriculture (F,E)

New and renewable Energy technologies diffusion module (current model incorporates 12 technologies)

  • Combined Heat and Power (small co-generation); Small Hydro Power plants (<10 MWe); Wind; Solar Thermal; Decentralized Building integrated PV systems; PV systems for Decentralized rural electrification in DCs; Low temperature Solar systems in residential sector; Biofuels (3 conventional technologies); Biomass Gasification for electricity production in GT; Proton exchange fuel Cells (Vehicles); Proton exchange fuel Cells (stationary); Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (cogeneration)

Electricity and Transformation System module (in contrast to fossil fuels the electricity sector is modelled in much more detail; the price-elasticities are much higher in the long term than in the short term; 12 electricity generation technologies are identifies in the model)

  • large size Hydroelectricity; Conventional Light Water nuclear Reactor; New Nuclear Design; Pulverised Fuel Super Critical Coal; Integrated Coal gasification with combined cycle; Advanced Thermodynamic Cycle (coal powered); lignite Powered Conventional Thermal; Coal-Powered Conventional Thermal; Oil-Powered conventional thermal; Oil-Powered Gas turbine in Combined Cycle; Gas-Powered Gas turbine in Combined Cycle;

Oil and gas production module (Oil and gas production is simulated for each region using a full discovery-process model for the main producing countries and simplified relations for minor producing countries)[1]

International Energy-Prices module:

World oil price is modelled combining a Target Capacity Utilisation Rate model for the gulf countries (short term) with a global oil reserves/production ration as a long term explanatory variable.

Coal and natural gas prices are computed for each one of the three main regional markets (with regional coal and gas trade matrixes )

Dynamic Structure:

Recursive simulation by matching supply and demand. Supply and demand adjust (with a time lag) to prices of earlier periods.

Time Horizon:

Simulation up to 2030. Year by year.

Required technical Infrastructure:

The POLES model runs on a PC. It is formulated in the VENSIM modelling software, using a simple year-by-year simulation process.[1]

Structure of Input Data:

Energy balance data from an international energy database that also include macroeconomic data such as GDP, structure of economic activity, deflators and exchange rates. Tecnico-economic Data (such as energy prices, equipment rates, costs of energy technologies etc.) have to be taken from national and international statistics.

Model Extensions:


The POLES-ASPEN Model combines the POLES Model with the ASPEN (Analyse des Systèmes de Permis d'Emissions Négociables) software to examine tradable emission permit systems. The POLES model simulates energy and environmental policies through the introduction of a tax into every module where fossil fuels are burnt - proportional to the carbon content of the fuel. The simulation with an increasing carbon price is used to generate Marginal Abatement Cost (MAC) curves. The ASPEN software uses the MAC curves as Inputs for the simulation of tradable emissions permit systems. With a set of economic actors (e.g. regions, countries or sectors) characterised by different MAC curves the ASPEN software allows to calculate the marginal and total abatement costs with and without permit trade of with alternative designs of the permit trading system.[1]

POLES in the GECS project:

The POLES model has also been used within the GECS project. This project has been implemented in order to enhance economic analyses of long term multi-gas abatement strategies, while adding the ?Kyoto basket? of GHGs to the energy-CO2 emissions, in the perspective of on-going and future climate negotiations. Within the GECS project the models POLES and GEM-E3 were extended and used together with the models AGRIPOL and IMAGE to develop and analyse multi-gas scenarios.

Links to other Models, Projects, Networks:

2004-2005: WETO-H2, for DG-Research

World Energy Technology and climate policy Outlook-Hydrogen. This project aims at drawing long term energy scenarios for the European Union in a world context. A particular emphasis will be given to the study of potential radical, climate policy-induced innovations to the year 2050. Among these potential innovations the perspectives of Hydrogen technologies, fuel-cells and Carbon Capture and Sequestration will be thoroughly studied with the POLES model. This project will provide a significant extension in the scope and time-horizon of the WETO project below. (on-going)[1]

2003-2004: Reference Projection and Factor 4 scenarios for France, for the Ministry of Industry

The POLES model is used jointly with the MEDPRO energy demand and environmental model in order to provide a medium term (2030) energy scenario for France. In a second stage, POLES and MEDPRO are used in order to simulate and analyse in detail the consequences of a ?Factor 4? reduction target for GES emissions in 2050. (on-going)

2002-2004: SAPIENTIA, for DG-Research

Systems Analysis for Progress and Innovation in Energy Technologies for Integrated Assessment. This project is the natural continuation of the SAPIENT project below. SAPIENTIA addresses the issue of energy systems analysis by considering driving forces that influence technology improvement and particularly the role of R&D in inducing and accelerating it. The project allows to enhance the capabilities of the POLES model concerning endogenous technical change. (on-going)[1]

2002-2004: European Carbon Trading Schemes and Endogenous Energy Technology Scenarios, for the Institut Français de l'Energie

These twin studies allow for an extension of analyses and modelling exercises in a direction that respond to the preoccupations of key energy industries. In particular the European Carbon Trading Schemes has already allowed to specify the key features and to analyse in economic terms a consistent scenario that would regulate industry through emissions quotas, according to the Directive and the other sectors through a carbon tax complemented by government purchases of permits on the emission trading system. (on-going)

2001-2003: GRP, for DG-Environment

Greenhouse gas emission Reduction Pathways in the UNFCCC process to 2025. LEPII-EPE has coordinated this project that aimed at identifying the building blocks of a European climate policy and international negotiation strategy in a Post-Kyoto perspective. The project has identified two different GHG concentration profiles that may be compatible with the EU's climate targets, reviewed and assessed with different economic models the main international endowment schemes and finally identified some of the key benefits of GHG abatement policies for the emerging regions of the world.[1]

2001-2003: WETO, for DG-Research

World Energy Technology and climate policy Outlook. This project has allowed to define 2030 energy scenarios for Europe in an international context accounting for the dynamic balance of world energy demand, supply and international prices. The role of Europe on the international gas market and the conditions for gas supply has received a particular attention, as did a limited set of technology stories that allowed to illustrate the potential impacts of technological breakthrough in some key technologies. The WETO study has provided a global framework, encompassing emission reduction policies, for the design of the European energy RTD strategies.

2001-2003: KPI, for DG-Environment

Kyoto Protocol Implementation. This study, in support to the definition of the European Directive on the European ?Emission Quota Trading System? for industry has allowed to explore the consequences of the opening and linking of the EQTS to the international emission permit system (intra Annex I allowance trading and project-based flexibility mechanisms). It showed in particular that the linking may change the supply, demand and price conditions compared a pure or closed EQTS system, but not in a dramatic way.[1]

2000-2002: GECS, for DG-Research

Greenhouse gas Emission Control Strategies LEPII-EPE has been co-ordinator of the project, which aimed at enlarging the scope of General Equilibrium or sectoral energy models used for the assessment of climate negotiation to non-CO2 gas and sinks. This project primarily encompassed the development of the non-CO2 gas and sinks modules of the POLES model and its linkage with dedicated models for agriculture and land-use. It also dealt with the design of medium-term (2010) and long-term (2030) world emission reduction and entitlement scenarios.

2000-2002: SAPIENT, for DG-Research

Development and use of the POLES model with endogenous technological change processes. Development of a database on Technology Improvement Dynamics for power generation technologies (capacities, sales, government R&D, business R&D, investment cost for 23 technologies). Development and assessment of scenarios with exogenous and endogenous technologies and test of variants for public R&D portfolios.[1]

2000-2002: ARES, for the GICC programme of the French Ministry of Environment

Emission Reductions Scenarios Analysis. This project has been coordinated by LEPII-EPE and has allowed to develop in parallel a full world economic growth scenario to 2030 and an original international emission permit endowment scheme: the ?Soft Landing?. This scheme has then been fully assessed consecutively with the POLES energy sector model and with the IMACLIM general equilibrium model.

2000-2001: Blueprints for international climate negotiation, for DG Environment

Aimed at studying the conditions of operationalisation of the Kyoto Mechanisms, this project provided in particular the economic analyses that were necessary to support the policy design and international negotiation process for the EU-DG ENV, in the The Hague COP-6 and Bonn COP-6.2 context. The project allowed to define, prior to each conference, some ?Blueprints for the international negotiation?, while using a decision-tree analysis. It thus allowed to characterise the possible ?negotiation deals? and to quantify their economic consequences with a new version of the ASPEN software, developed for this purpose and focusing on the Supply-Demand relationships on the permit market: the ASPEN-sd software.[1]

1999-2001: ASPEN, for the French Ministry of the Environment

Analyse des Systèmes de Permis d'Emission Négociables: ASPEN a dedicated software. Using the Marginal Abatement Cost Curves produced by the POLES model, the ASPEN software allows to explore, in a framework that is both user-friendly and also fully consistent in a micro-economic perspective, different market configurations and trading rules for emission permits. In particular the ASPEN software allows to simulate the consequences of Concrete Ceilings on permit trading as well as to study international and national markets among different POLES sectors.

1998-1999: Shared Analysis, for DG-TREN

Energy Analysis and Forecasts. In this project, dedicated to an in-depth analysis of key issues for European energy policy in the next twenty years, LEPII-EPE has been in charge of the study of international energy markets (oil and gas), of future energy demand and supply in the Emerging Asian Countries and of the policy of Developing Countries in the international climate negotiation. Each of these studies have been integrated as chapters in the final publications ?European Energy Outlook to 2020? and ?Economic Foundation for Energy Policy? (1999). They also provided the analytical background for the international scenarios produced with the POLES world energy model. [1]

Regional scope:

World simulation Model with 46 regions:

  • North America (USA, Canada)
  • Central America (Mexico, Rest of Central America)
  • South America (Brasil, Rest of South America)
  • EU-15 + new EU members
  • other Western Europe (e.g. Turkey)
  • Central Europe (Poland, Hungary, Czechia, Slovenia, Rest o. Eastern Europe Annex B, Rest o. Eastern Europe non-Annex B)
  • Former Soviet Union (Annex B, non-Annex B)
  • North Africa (Egypt, North Africa non-OPEC, North Africa OPEC)
  • Middle East (Gulf, Rest of Middle-East)
  • South of Sahara Africa
  • Japan
  • Australia+New Zealand
  • South Asia (India, Rest of South Asia)
  • South East Asia (Korea, Rest)
  • China

Some of the largest countries are identified and treated by a detailed model (E.g. the G7, Brazil, India, China). For each region the model formulates four main modules (energy demand, new and renewable energy, conventional energy transformation system, fossil fuel supply). [1]

See also


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 JRC: IA TOOLS. Supporting inpact assessment in the European Commission. [1]