MES Topics

Topics for MES semester projects at LEURE

Generally, our research activities related to energy deal with energy policy and regulation, the macroeconomic effects of energy systems and their evolution, the consequences of this evolution for CO2 emissions and climate policy related to energy. We also examine energy choices of individuals, in particular building owners. Our primary focus is on Switzerland, but we often look beyond the borders and are particularly interested in the interaction between Switzerland and the EU on energy matters and in the impacts of world energy supply and prices on the Swiss economy.

Specific topics:

Understanding and modelling endogenous energy efficiency improvement

The goal is to develop small tractable models of the energy use in industry and in buildings, models that account for measures taken to promote improvements. The models must be calibrated and integrated into a computable general equilibrium model.

Understanding and modelling economic effects of the energy transition in the European Union

We estimate the impacts for employment, agriculture, water supply and demand, etc. In particular, we wish to understand the links between sustainable energy systems and gender equality, and how an energy transition could help in promoting gender equality.

Beyond efficiency: harnessing threshold effects for long term energy reductions

The research also takes place in the context of the energy transition in Europe. It consists in evaluating the main factors influencing energy efficiency at the level of economic activities, in particular contrasting technical improvements in energy use and non-technical aspects as a result of structural changes in the economy. The research project will quantify direct and indirect energy use, including embodied energy in products (goods and services) to estimate consumption based energy balances.

Grey energy in buildings

We are interested in reducing the environmental footprint of housing. The focus will NOT be on the energy consumption of housing but on material flows, waste, water, and land use. Reducing the material flow generated by new build, refurbishments, replacement of equipment, and demolition is necessary also for the grey energy of the materials involved. Optimizing material flows can also be thought from an energy point of view. The goal is to clarify this and to seek ways to reduce this indirect energy use of residential buildings.

Stranded fossil fuel assets

The low-carbon transition already created substantial intrinsic technological momentum independently of the additional climate policies required to fulfil the Paris Agreement. Under the already-established trajectory, fossil fuel assets will become stranded, even if no additional climate policies are adopted. This creates the potential for fossil-fuel assets to lose value, possibly bursting a ‘carbon bubble’ with major consequences for financial markets and the real economy worldwide. The project will establish a list of potentially threatened financial assets and assess the most vulnerable countries and firms.