The ExternE methodology has been applied for a large number of European and national studies to give advice for environmental, energy and transport policies.

One of the first objectives of the ExternE program was to make a comparative evaluation of different technologies and fuel cycles for electricity generation. A decade of research has resulted in detailed set of data for impacts from a wide range of fuels, technologies and locations. They include:

  • fossil fuels : coal and oil technologies with varying degrees of flue gas cleaning, natural gas, centralised systems and CHP, orimulsion;
  • nuclear : PWR, open and closed systems for fuel provision;
  • renewable: onshore and offshore wind, hydro, a wide range of biomass fuels (waste wood, short rotice; crops) and technologies.

The application on transport externalities (road, rail, aircraft and navigation) focused on the specific requirements of emission and dispersion modelling and the extension and update of dose-response functions.1) In addition to air pollution impacts, those from noise and accidents have been analysed. Besides the estimation of marginal costs of transport, aggregated costs can be calculated e.g. those which refer to the entire transport sector of European countries. Moreover, several policy case studies and scenarios have been examined in different countries of the European Union, e.g. the use of alternative fuels in city buses or the introduction of electric or CNG-fuelled vehicles.

Besides the different phases of the ExternE project itself, the methodology developed within this project has been used and applied up to date to support several policy decisions and legislative proposals, e. g. of DG Environment, such as to perform economic evaluations of the:

  • Draft directive on non-hazardous waste incineration.
  • Large combustion plant directive.
  • EU strategy to combat acidification.
  • Costs and benefits of the UN-ECE Multi-pollutant, Multi-effect protocol and of proposals under this protocol (e. g. NOx and VOC control).
  • Costs and benefits for the emission ceilings directive.
  • Air quality limits for PAHs.
  • Diversion of PVC from incineration to landfill and recycling.
  • Benefits of compliance with the EU environmental acquis: quantification of the benefits of air quality improvements.
  • Costs and benefits of acidification and ground level ozone (as input to negotiation on the ozone directive 1998).
  • Regulatory appraisal of the SO2, NO2 and PM10 air quality objectives for UK Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.
  • Air quality guidelines on CO and benzene.
  • Environmental costs of lorries (a study to incorporate environmental costs in vehicle excise duty rates in UK).
  • Second NOx Protocol (for the UN-ECE Task Force on economic aspects of abatement strategies).
  • The CAFE Programme - Implementation of the Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution.

Moreover, EcoSense has been adapted to other territories in the world, especially for China, Russia, Brazil and Mexico.

For the transport sector, this methodology developed in ExternE has been applied in a broader context within the EC projects UNITE, RECORDIT, HEATCO and in further current projects.

Fair and efficient pricing of transport infrastructure use is a fundamental aspect of developing a sustainable transport policy that takes account of the full social costs and benefits of transport. The project

  • UNITE (Unification of accounts and marginal costs for transport efficiency) supplied policymakers with the framework and state-of-the-art cost estimates to progress this policy. This framework integrates pilot transport accounts for all modes and marginal costs, consistent with public finance economics and the role of transport charging in the European economy.
  • In RECORDIT (Real cost reduction of door-to-door intermodal transport) a comprehensive methodology has been designed and validated for the calculation of real (internal and external) costs of intermodal freight transport and for the understanding of cost formation mechanisms. For selected corridors external costs from direct emissions as well as lifecycle emissions have been calculated.
  • With ECOSIT a project has been finished that applies the same methodology to the evaluation of several innovative industrial technologies outside the energy and transport sector.
  • The past projects GARP II and GREENSENSE incorporated the methodology into the systems of national accounting
For a summary of transport results, see the aforementioned brochure External Costs: Research results on socio-environmental damages due to electricity and transport.