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Open AccessArticle

The Nexus Concept Integrating Energy and Resource Efficiency for Policy Assessments: A Comparative Approach from Three Cases

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Wageningen Economic Research, Prinses Beatrixlaan 582-528, 2595 BM The Hague, The Netherlands
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University of Exeter, Center for Water Systems, North Park Road, Exeter EX4 4QF, UK
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Cambridge Econometrics, Covent Garden, Cambridge CB1 2HT, UK
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Baltic Environmental Forum, BEF Latvia, Antonijas 3-8, LV-1010 Riga, Latvia
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South West Water Ltd., Peninsula House Rydon Lane, Exeter EX2 7HR, UK
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4860; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124860
Received: 27 September 2018 / Revised: 10 December 2018 / Accepted: 14 December 2018 / Published: 19 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Systems: From Primary to End-Use)
As the world increasingly runs up against physical constraints of energy, land, water, and food, there is a growing role for policy to reduce environmental pressures without adversely affecting increases in prosperity. There is therefore a need for policy makers to understand the potential trade-offs and/or synergies between the uses of these different resources, i.e., to encompass the water–energy–food–land nexus for policy and decision making, where it is no longer possible to ignore the limitations in land availability and its links to other natural resources. This paper proposes a modelling approach to help to assess various policies from a nexus perspective. The global macro-econometric model (E3ME) explores a low-carbon transition through different sets of energy and climate policies applied at different spatial scales. The limitations of the E3ME model in assessing nexus interactions are discussed. The paper also argues and offers an explanation for why no single traditional or classic model has the potential to cover all parts of the nexus in a satisfactory way, including feedback loops and interactions between nexus components. Other approaches and methodologies suitable for complexity science modelling (e.g., system dynamics modelling) are proposed, providing a possible means to capture the holistic approach of the nexus in policy-making by including causal and feedback loops to the model components. Based on three case studies in Europe, the paper clarifies the different steps (from policy design towards conceptual model) in modelling the nexus linkages and interactions at the national and regional levels. One case study (The Netherlands) considers national low-carbon transitions at national level. Two other case studies (Latvia and southwest UK) focus on how renewable energy may impact the nexus. A framework is proposed for the generic application of quantitative modelling approaches to assess nexus linkages. The value of the nexus concept for the efficient use of resources is demonstrated, and recommendations for policies supporting the nexus are presented. View Full-Text
Keywords: nexus concept; energy modelling; resource efficiency; renewable energy; low-carbon economy nexus concept; energy modelling; resource efficiency; renewable energy; low-carbon economy
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Brouwer, F.; Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia, L.; Alexandri, E.; Bremere, I.; Griffey, M.; Linderhof, V. The Nexus Concept Integrating Energy and Resource Efficiency for Policy Assessments: A Comparative Approach from Three Cases. Sustainability 2018, 10, 4860.

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