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ETI banner Energy technology initiatives

There are no quick fixes to long-term energy challenges. To find solutions, governments and industry benefit from sharing resources and accelerating results. For this reason the IEA enables independent groups of experts - the Energy Technology Initiatives, or ETIs1.

Energy Technology Systems Analysis Programme

Example of an ETSAP Energy Technology Brief (E-TechDS)

Succinct and insightful 

Policy context
Access to high-quality data and models provide energy planners and strategists with the tools they need to explore the potential impact of energy policy decisions made today. Quantifying and visualising the possible effects of framework policies, regulation, incentives, financial and fiscal measures, investments in infrastructure or R&D, enable informed decisions. Balancing short-term issues against these long-term effects is challenging, but without a long-term vision – and a view into that future – sustainable economic growth and environmental protection are unattainable.

The aims of the ETI focusing on modelling and scenarios (ETSAP) are to assist decision makers in assessing the current energy technologies and markets that will meet the future challenges of energy supply, economic development, and environmental protection. The ETSAP research program has continually developed the MARKAL model generator and has recently designed an enhanced model, the Integrated MARKAL-EFOM System (TIMES). To date, more than 250 institutions in over 70 countries have used ETSAP models, including the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission (China). There are 20 Contracting Parties, including Russia and the European Commission.

The IEA Technology Essentials series1, conceived in 2006, was designed to provide concise profiles on current energy technologies for producing, transporting and using energy.

In 2009, ETSAP began compiling Energy Technology Data Source briefs (E-TechDS) that build on this basic concept. Each five- to ten-page E‑TechDS brief provides basic information on process, status, performance, costs, data projections, market potential, barriers and policies for key energy technology clusters. Each is presented in a standardised manner, allowing easy comparison between technologies.

During 2010-12, 50 briefs were prepared, with another 30 in preparation or planned. A series of E‑TechDS briefs on renewable sources and technologies are in preparation with the IEA and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Over the same period, several important policy-relevant enhancements have been integrated into the model. The element of risk is difficult to model accurately. As a result, using both a portfolio approach and limited resources approach, the TIMES model was revised to include hedging strategies for managing risk to price volatility and for coping with recurring uncertainties.

In addition, policy instruments such as feed-in tariffs, emissions trading, building regulations, and financial measures have been integrated  into the TIMES model. Lastly, travel time and budgets were incorporated as measures of mobility modal choice between private car, buses and trains.

1. Accessible under the free publications on the IEA website.  

Current projects

  • Energy Technology Data Source briefs (E-TechDS)
  • Global, multi-regional ETSAP-TIAM model
  • Advancing the TIMES/MARKAL modelling tools:
    • Prices: managing price volatility and uncertainties
    • Transport: modes of transport, travel time and budgets
    • Electricity generation: wide-scale integration of renewables
    • Policies/measures: integrating policy instruments and financial measures
    • Capacity-building: energy systems analysis

For more information:


1.Information or material of the IEA Energy Technology Initiatives, or ETIs (formally organised under the auspices of an Implementing Agreement), including information or material published on this website, does not necessarily represent the views or policies of the IEA Secretariat or of the IEA’s individual Member countries. The IEA does not make any representation or warranty (express or implied) in respect of such information (including as to its completeness, accuracy or non-infringement) and shall not be held liable for any use of, or reliance on, such information.