These are some of the answers the energy system model EFDA TIMES provides when asked how the world’s energy supply evolves until 2100. EFDA has developed this model because none of the existing models took fusion energy into account. If fusion succeeds, it will start to have an impact in the second half of this century. Therefore EFDA TIMES considers the time period from 2000 until 2100, looking much further ahead than usual models. The International Energy Agency (IEA) world energy outlook, for instance, only goes as far as 2035. By extending the model to 2100, EFDA TIMES also covers the era of increasingly expensive gas, oil and uranium supplies.

How EFDA TIMES works

questions on EFDA Times model

EFDA Times is a global energy system model. It describes the entire process chain from the primary energy source up to different means of energy usage for 15 regions of the world. For a set of defined threshold conditions, for example, different measures to reduce CO2-emissions or societal preferences for non-nuclear energy, EFDA TIMES produces the energy mix with the lowest cost for investment, operation, maintenance and dismantling. The model does not calculate in the sense of extrapolating past energy scenarios, but it “acts” with a defined set of rules and under the various boundary conditions. According to the technology available at a given year, the model “invests” in new power plants to accommodate population growth and economic development and to replace “old” plants, which are phased out after a specified technical lifetime. The overall cost of an energy mix is determined by data about energy production costs and efficiency for the various technologies.
EFDA TIMES applies an energy model generator as developed under IEA. The future development assumptions are driven by UN-scenarios for population growth and by the European Commission’s GEM-E3 model for economic development. EFDA TIMES incorporates today’s knowledge about future energy technologies like carbon capture storage or generation 4 nuclear fission plants. The parameters for fusion energy are based on the European Power Plant Conceptual Study from 2005. The EFDA TIMES model is validated by ensuring that its results until 2035 match the IEA scenarios.

Decision making with EFDA TIMES

EFDA TIMES provides the means with which to explore the potential of fusion energy for different regions and under different societal circumstances. It enables the fusion community to participate in energy debates and it offers stakeholders who deal with energy investments, a tool to assess the consequences of different decisions. The model answers questions like: under what circumstances will fusion power succeed in a future energy market? What other energy technologies will fusion have to compete with? How will fusion fare under different climate protection decisions? What are the consequences if fusion is not available? What will happen if some regions also ban nuclear fission? EFDA TIMES can also be used to explore how the properties of the various fusion power plant designs will affect their respective success in a future energy market.

Electricity production in 2100

This article uses input from recent IPP-exhibits on energy scenarios.