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SAFIRE(Strategic Assessment Framework for the Implementation of Rational Energy ) is an engineering-economic bottom-up supply and demand model for the assessment of first-order socio-economic and environmental impacts of rational (i.e. renewable and new non-renewable) energy technologies on a national, regional or local level against a background of different policy instruments and scenario assumptions. SAFIRE is a framework that consists of a database and a computer model that provides decision-makers with a tool to evaluate the markets and impact of new energy technologies and policies. SAFIRE is updated to take into account the calculation of baselines within the Kyoto framework and for the implementation of local energy planning for municipalities. The main SAFIRE model is designed for national studies and applications, assessing the potential and cost benefits of new technologies for whole countries or large regions. The new SAFIRELP (Local Planning) version of the model is designed to be used for and within local government as a key local planning tool.[1]


Typical Model Applications:

SAFIRE has been used for a large number of applications, ranging from micro-level local planning to market assessment for companies and international agencies, from cost benefit analyses for public institutions to local, regional, national and EU policy and planning. At a national level, some key projects include supporting the European Commission in developing the renewable electricity targets for the EU25 and for the 2 Accession States, setting the national renewable electricity target for Poland, monitoring the potential achievement towards the Eu's renewable energy targets, helping define the role of bioenergy in Europe and assessing the employment effects renewables in the EU. At a local level, it has been used in 12 European countries, most recently integrating local energy planning into municipalities in Central and Eastern Europe.

SAFIRE can be applied to assess the net impact of energy technology and associated policies on a number of economic aspects:

  • market penetration
  • net employment creation
  • pollutant emissions (CO2, SO2, NOX, CO, VOCs, particulates)
  • value added
  • import dependency
  • capital expenditure
  • external costs
  • government expenditure (national version only)[1]

Standard Model Specification:

Fuel types: 10 biomass/waste fuels: forest residues, energy crops - wood & biofuels, solid agricultural wastes, liquid agricultural wastes, municipal solid wastes, sewage gas, landfill gas, solid industrial wastes, liquid industrial wastes and 11 conventional fuels: Electricity - peak & off-peak, natural gas, derived gas, coal, lignite/peat, heavy fuel oil, light fuel oil, petrol, diesel, and nuclear fuel.

Energy Demand Sectors:

Residential: The residential sector has a single average category of dwelling. Specific energy consumption is divided into 3 categories: space heating (thermal/electric), water heating (thermal/electric) and electricity. The DSM module further divides electricity consumption into cooling, lighting, insulation and other electrical appliances.

Commercial: The commercial sector is divided into 7 sectors. Within each sector, there are four sizes of sub-sectors - small, medium, large and very large, based upon floor area. Specific energy consumptions can be defined for electricity, space heating and water heating. Alternatively, for SAFIRELP, the user can define as many sectors are required, with the energy consumption information specified as actual consumption by fuel.

Industry: The default industrial sector for SAFIRE is divided into 43 predefined NACE categories. Alternatively, the user can choose to specify up to 30 industrial sectors of their own choice. For SAFIRELP, the user can define as many sectors are required, with the energy consumption information specified as actual consumption by fuel. Specific energy consumptions can be entered for process heating (both high and low temperature), water heating, space heating, electricity and cooling.

Agriculture: Agriculture is predetermined into 6 predefined sectors, or the user can define 10 agricultural sectors of their own choice. For SAFIRELP, the user can define as many sectors are required, with the energy consumption information specified as actual consumption by fuel. Specific energy consumptions can be entered for process heating (low temperature only heating, space heating, electricity and cooling

Transport: The transport sector calculates the potential for bio-ethanol and biodiesel as substitutes for petrol and diesel.[1]

Energy Supply Sectors:

SAFIRE includes an extensive database for 22 renewable energy technologies and eight new non-renewable electricity generating options, seven fuelling options for co-generation plants including fuel cells, and a domestic sector demand side management option. All of these technologies, where relevant, can be applied as electricity only plant, thermal plant or as cogeneration. In addition to these technological options, they can be applied as decentralised or centralised (both electricity and district heating) generation. SAFIRELP uses a smaller group of technologies, as it excludes the 8 technology options in the large scale centralised electricity sector.

SAFIRE and SAFIRELP also include two transport biofuels: Bio-ethanol, biodiesel.[1]

Main Model Results:

Dynamic Annual Projections in Specific Units:

  • Energy demand (heat, electricity, transport) by sector (GWh)
  • Technical potential (by renewable technology) (GWh)
  • Decentralised renewable market potential (by technology, sector, location, heat/electricity) (GWh, Mtoe)
  • Market penetration (by technology, sector, location, heat/electricity, centralised/decentralised) (GWh, Mtoe)
  • Net Employment (by technology, sector, location) (net jobs/year)
  • Net emissions - CO2, NOX, SO2, CO, VOCs, particulates (by technology, sector, location) (net change in tonnes of emission/year)
  • Value added (by technology, sector, location) (Euro/year)
  • Import dependency (by technology, sector, location) (GWh/year, Euro/year)
  • Capital investment (by technology, sector, location) (Euro/year)
  • External costs (by technology, sector, location) (Euro/year)
  • Government expenditure (by technology, sector, location) (Euro/year) (SAFIRE only)[1]

Time Horizon

SAFIRE runs for a 35-40 year period from a flexible starting year specified by the user. Outputs are saved at 5-year intervals. SAFIRELP runs for a maximum of 20 years, owing to the shorter time horizon of local government.

Required technical infrastructure:

SAFIRE: PC: FoxPro 2.5b for PC.

SAFIRELP: PC: Microsoft C# for PC, using the .NET runtime version.[1]

Structure of Input Data:

Exogenous variables and parameters:

The SAFIRE model-software includes an extensive database for 22 renewable energy technologies (RETs) and eight new non-RETs, seven fuelling options for cogeneration plants including fuel cells), and a domestic sector demand side management option. SAFIRE also contains, among others, country-specific databases with information on energy demand by sector, energy prices, technology costs and available renewable energy resources. The SAFIRE model databases can be divided into two areas, covering base year data and future scenario data. The databases include the following information:

Base year data

  • Disaggregated energy consumption by sector
  • Renewable and other technology resources information
  • Current installations
  • Renewable and other new technology costs
  • Energy and renewable and conventional fuel prices
  • Energy plant operating characteristics
  • Socio-economic and cost benefit coefficients

Scenario data

  • Changes in energy consumption
  • Changes in supply technology cost, performance and operating information
  • Changes in energy and fuel prices
  • Renewable and new technology market dynamics
  • National economic and fiscal policies on installation, production & consumption
  • Technology support and market factors[1]

Data Sources:

Data sources for SAFIRE include a mixture of local information (SAFIRELP), national statistics and policies, and international data covering policies, technologies, fuels and markets.

Model Extensions:


Links to other Models, Projects, Networks:

JOULE II programme under which SAFIRE was developed

MITRE monitoring the EC renewable targets

TERES II for EC White Paper on Renewables

TECS-future cogen Europesn cogeneration study[1]

Regional Scope:

34 European countries (25 EU Member States and 9 other countries across Europe), and 8 other major countries worldwide (Brazil, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, USA). Local municipalities, government and regions in Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, United Kingdom.[1]

See also=


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 JRC: IA TOOLS. Supporting inpact assessment in the European Commission. [1]

Bio-energy's role in the EU energy market, a view of developments until 2020; dr. ir. R. Siemons, ir. Martijn Vis, ir. Douwe van den Berg, I McChesney, M. Whiteley, N. Nikolaou, April 2004

Meeting the Targets & Putting Renewables to Work (Monitoring & Modelling Initiative on the Targets for Renewable Energy), EUFORES, ESD, BEST, NTUA-RENES, December 2003

The SAFIRE energy model, M. Whiteley, Socio-economic tools for sustainability impact assessment - The contribution of EU research to sustainable development, European Commission - DG Research, November 2002

M.H. Whiteley, Is there a future for cogeneration in Europe? Cogeneration and the Kyoto Protocol, Power Engineering International Cogeneration Supplement, July 2001

M.H. Whiteley, Cogeneration's European Future - Cogeneration in a Post Kyoto world, Cogeneration and On-Site Power Production, Volume 2, no. 4, July-August 2001

M.A. Uyterlinde, M.H. Voogt, K. Skytte, M. Leonardi, M.H. Whiteley, Requirements and expectations of utilities and consumer organisations in the renewable electricity sector in Europe, ECN-C--01-031, May 2001

Effects of burden sharing and certificate trade on the renewable electricity market in Europe, M.H. Voogt, M.A. Uyterlinde, M. de Noord, K. Skytte, L.H. Nielsen, M. Leonardi, M.H. Whiteley, M.A. Chapman, ECN-C--01-030, May 2001

Renewable energy technologies and the European industry, M.H. Whiteley & D.M. Bess, International Journal of Global Energy Issues, Vol. 14, Nos. 1-4, 2000

The energy, environment, technology nexus, D.M. Bess & M.H. Whiteley, International Journal of Global Energy Issues, Vol. 14, Nos. 1-4, 2000

Energy for the Future: Meeting the Challenge - TERES II (The Second European Renewable Energy Study), CD-ROM, 1997

SAFIRE, European Commission, DG XII, EUR 16785 EN, Brussels, 1995