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Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance


Funded by the EU H2020 program. Prof. Laura Diaz Anadon is the C-EENRG PI and the Leader of Work Package 1. For more information on INNOPATHS and its 15 partners, please use this:

The overall objective of INNOPATHS is to work with key economic and societal actors to generate new enhanced low-carbon pathways for the European Union, taking full account of the global context. This objective aligns with the priorities of the Paris Agreement and the EU climate and energy policy commitments for 2020, 2030 and 2050.

To meet this overall objective, INNOPATHS has five concrete aims.

Understanding the challenges of decarbonisation and the innovation needed to address them

INNOPATHS will build creatively on, and develop the insights and understandings from, previous low-carbon scenarios, pathways, experiences and trajectories, using various methodologies, which include descriptive analysis, analytical models, case study approaches and system innovation perspectives to provide an up-to-date representation of the major present (and future) challenges to the energy transition and the innovations that will be required to address them.

Presenting a detailed assessment of low-carbon technologies, their uncertainties, future prospects and system characteristics

INNOPATHS will undertake a comprehensive technological assessment of low-carbon technologies, including expert projections as to how these many develop and what role new technologies may play in the low-carbon transition. From this assessment a detailed Technology Matrix will be produced and made available online, which contains the best estimates of the ranges and uncertainties of the key characteristics of energy system technologies through to 2050. 

Proposing policy and innovation system reforms that will help the EU and Member States meet their greenhouse gas emission reduction targets

INNOPATHS will generate an in-depth understanding of how the EU and national innovation systems and current policy framework influences the decarbonisation of the five key energy sectors in several representative member countries. This understanding, enhancing and going beyond existing approaches, will be incorporated in a Policy Assessment Framework (to be made available online), which incorporates the results and insights of European experiences of climate and energy policies, and their evaluations, and which applies these insights to deriving a comprehensive set of policies and measures that will be necessary to realise the low-carbon pathways and trajectories in practice. 

Creating new, co-designed deep decarbonisation pathways with novel representation of policy and innovation process for low-carbon technology development.

INNOPATHS will combine the insights from the previous innovation and policy research work with a systematic co-design process with a wide range of stakeholders to create new detailed energy-economy scenarios that go beyond the current state of the art. The scenarios will give thorough assessments of both market and non-market costs and benefits, as well as assisting with developing strategic planning, and emphasising the crucial role of innovation policy and finance innovations in influencing the development and diffusion of new key technologies, along with the identification of winners and losers in the transition. The energy-economy-models with global coverage used in INNOPATHS will calculate the emissions and resulting temperature changes implied by the different scenarios, and thereby evaluate the consistency with long-term climate goals. Co-design will ensure that the scenarios embody and are consistent with the practical experience of real-world energy system challenges and opportunities, such that the generated scenarios constitute a realistic roadmap of different paths to a low-carbon economy. The results will be made accessible to a wide audience through two online tools: a Low-Carbon Pathways Platform and an Interactive Decarbonisation Simulator.

Making clear the social, economic and environmental dimensions of the low-carbon transition and how they can be managed

INNOPATHS will make explicit the wider economic, social and environmental impacts of the low-carbon pathways and how these will need to be managed, teasing out the key role that non-technical barriers may play in slowing the energy transition, and proposing how innovative solutions in the role of policy, law, regulation and institutional change can overcome the barriers to transition. This will include an assessment of the impact of technological innovation on the labour market, the key aspects of the innovation process on which governments can capitalize, the identification of novel business models promoting the involvement of actors in the energy transition and the financial requirements needed to meet ambitious energy and climate goals. The aim is to analyse the conditions under which the costs and risks can become opportunities for new growth driven by clean innovations to the benefit of industry and employment in the EU.