About the SET-Nav project

SET-Nav - Navigating the Roadmap for Clean, Secure and Efficient Energy Innovation, started in April 2016 and is co-funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme.

The project intends to support strategic decision making in Europe's energy sector, enhancing innovation towards a clean, secure and efficient energy system.

The project will produce contributions along three dimensions: the development of a modelling portfolio for decision making in the energy sector, the analysis of the impact of multiple future paths and policies, and the development of stakeholder dialogue and dissemination. The project is implemented by a consortium of academic, research and industry partners from Austria, Germany, Norway, France, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

SET-Nav will support strategic decision making in Europe’s energy sector, enhancing innovation towards a clean, secure and efficient energy system. Our research will enable the EC, national governments and regulators to facilitate the development of optimal technology portfolios by market actors. We will comprehensively address critical uncertainties and derive appropriate policy and market responses. Our findings will support the further development of the SET-Plan and its implementation by continuous stakeholder involvement. 

These contributions of the SET-Nav project rest on three pillars:

  • The wide range of objectives and analytical challenges set out by the call for proposals can only be met by developing a broad and technically-advanced modelling portfolio. Advancing this portfolio and enabling knowledge exchange via a modelling forum is our first pillar.
  • The EU’s energy, innovation and climate challenges define the direction of a future EU energy system, but the specific technology pathways are policy sensitive and need careful comparative evaluation. This is our second pillar. Using our strengthened modelling capabilities in an integrated modelling hierarchy, we will analyse multiple dimensions of impact of future pathways: sustainability, reliability and supply security, global competitiveness and efficiency. This analysis will combine bottom-up ‘case studies’ linked to the full range of SET-Plan themes with holistic ‘transformation pathways’.
  • Stakeholder dialogue and dissemination is the third pillar of SET-Nav. We have prepared for a lively stakeholder dialogue through a series of events on critical SET-Plan themes. The active involvement of stakeholders in a two-way feedback process will provide a reality check on our modelling assumptions and approaches, and ensure high policy relevance. Our aim is to ensure policy and market actors alike can navigate effectively through the diverse options available on energy innovation and system transformation.

The overarching goal of SET-Nav is to support strategic decision making in Europe’s energy sector, enhancing innovation towards a clean, secure and efficient energy system. A wide range of analyses is prescribed in order to better understand the complex links, interactions and interdependencies between the different actors, the available technologies and the impact of the different interventions in the energy system. To meaningfully contribute to the objectives requires a large modelling portfolio. To ensure focus on the most important aspects and policy relevance, industry partners and stakeholders with varying perspectives should be involved from start to finish.

This leads up to the three key objectives of SET-Nav:

  • Enhance modelling capacities to increase understanding of interactions and interdependencies between actors, technologies and policy interventions in Europe’s energy system.
  • Provide model-based decision support for enhancing energy innovation towards a clean, secure and efficient energy system – through strategic policy analyses tackling relevant technology and policy options, complemented by detailed comparative assessments of energy transformation pathways
  • Ensure a proper research orientation and a high impact through a continuous and in-depth stakeholder involvement and dialogue

SET-Nav is expected to support the scientific underpinning for the implementation of the SET-Plan by strengthening the knowledge base for decision-making concerning feasibility, effectiveness, costs and impacts of related measures and options. The results should assist policy makers in identifying and analysing effective strategies for a transition to an efficient low carbon energy system.

SET-Nav will improve innovation capacity and the integration of new knowledge. Examples of such innovations to be expected from SET-Nav are:

  • Set-up of a broad basket of energy models with different methodological background, sectoral coverage and implemented modelling features in order to address selected topics by specific combinations of these models as well as analyse the overall transformation path assessment with the full range of models.
  • Improve the link between bottom-up demand side oriented models with energy systems and energy supply models regarding the uptake of demand side flexibility options.
  • Improve the link between detailed district heating expansion models, building stock models and electricity system models.
  • Consideration of the regional dimension of CCS in energy modelling.
  • Aggregating load profiles from the power sector models towards use in large-scale energy-system and integrated assessment models.
  • Linking energy system and the wider economy models in top-down bottom-up hybrid modelling.
  • Modelling of risk and uncertainty regarding infrastructure and system stability to better capture and evaluate the challenge of system stability in the power sector.

The project is being implemented by a multinational consortium of european organisations, with partners from Austria, Germany, Norway, Greece, France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, France, Hungary, Spain and Belgium.

The project partners come from both the research and the industrial sectors. They represent the wide range of expertise necessary for the implementation of the project: policy research, energy technology, systems modelling, and simulation.


The project consortium includes the following organisations:

Technische Universität Wien (TU Wien) (Coordinator)


Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (Fraunhofer)


Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (DIW Berlin)


Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet i Trondheim (NTNU)


Stiftelsen for industriell og teknisk forskning ved NTH (SINTEF)


Société Européenne d'ECOnomie (Seureco)


Universidad Pontificia Comillas (Comillas)


National Technical University of Athens (NTUA)


REKK Energiapiaci Tanácsadó Kft (REKK Kft)


Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)


University of East Anglia (UEA)

United Kingdom

Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH)


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)


Axpo Services AG (Axpo)


The structure of the SET-Nav workflow enables the optimal achievement of the envisaged objectives and the timely provision of the proposed outcomes of this action. In this context, the overall work is clustered into 10 modules that complement each other under the umbrella of SET-Nav efficient Management:

Stakeholder dialogue and Dissemination are the central elements of the dissemination part, including the organisation of topical stakeholder workshops and a broad set of complementary dissemination activities (regional workshops, final conference, web, policy briefs etc.).

Technology innovation and Policy Implications will integrate insights on innovation system policies into SET-Plan scenarios and modelling to develop novel empirical relationships between innovation systems and key innovation processes relevant to the SET-Plan.

Model integration and Global Perspectives will provide key parameters regarding the potential development of global fossil fuel markets and other parameters (“global perspectives”) to the EU-centered modelling works in SET-Nav.

Energy Systems: Demand Perspective will provide and apply the modelling framework for the demand side of energy systems including buildings, industrial processes and transport.

Energy Systems: Infrastructure will assess the needs for electricity infrastructure brought by the transformation of the energy system. Complementarily, the needs for gas infrastructure and for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) infrastructure that will accompany the anticipated developments will be addressed considering the interrelationships between the three different infrastructure systems.

Energy Systems: Supply Perspective will develop a strong modelling framework regarding energy supply with a particular focus on electricity. In this context enabling and improving interaction between the different models with complementary strengths (system optimisation, policy representation, etc.) is a strong focus.

Macroeconomic Aspects will analyse the interrelationship between energy transformation and the economy, evaluating the macro-economic impacts of the distinct energy transformation pathways.

Comparative assessments: Technology/Policy Options and Pathways carries out a coordinating function in two ways: On the one hand it manages the process that defines transformation pathways that are run by all modelling groups and that ensures consistent implementation of the pathway iterations across models. On the other hand the results from all the case studies, pathway analyses and other complementary assessments are consolidated here.

Modelling forum / Capacity building is in charge of the development of new approaches for building advanced, more holistic energy-economy-environment models. Cross-fertilisation of ideas across distinct modelling methodologies is a central pillar thereby, as is capacity-building and sharing of “best-practice examples” in applied energy system modelling.