Long-term energy scenarios: bridging the gap between socio-economic storylines and energy modeling

Patrícia Fortes, António Alvarenga, Júlia Seixas, Sofia Rodrigues

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


The development of scenarios to explore energy and low carbon futures has been widely applied. Although some studies combine qualitative scenarios with quantitative outcomes from modeling exercises, the two approaches have been extensively and separately used. Many energy scenarios are sustained only by the results of the models, which allow great technological details but neglect the interaction with social and economic factors. Using Portugal as a case study, this paper presents a framework to link socio-economic storylines, sustained by national stakeholders' workshops, with the development of quantitative energy scenarios through 2050, generated by the technology-based TIMES_PT model. The storylines highlight different visions of the country's development, including the energy system. A comparison between the energy profile from the storylines and the energy modeling outcomes was performed to assess the extent of their differences. This analysis revealed generally similar visions, with the exception of the importance of some technologies, which may affect future energy planning. We conclude that a combined method that links socio-economic storylines and energy modeling increases the robustness of energy scenario development because providing a coherent context for modeling assumptions allows better reasoning, which is most valued for the decision-making process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-178
Number of pages18
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


  • Energy modeling
  • Energy scenario
  • Participatory process
  • Quantitative scenario
  • Storylines


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