The transition towards a sustainable energy system is a process that not only offers hope to steer the worlds current trajectory away from the devastating impacts of climate change but it also carries a lot of questions and uncertainties. These uncertainties spread across multiple sectors and discipline. During my carrier, I have been engaging with different actors in the power sector. This helped me better understand how these uncertainties affect them specifically. For example, among the top priorities of an electricity service provider is that the service they offer to their customers must remain affordable and reliable. The intermittency of certain renewables, in particular wind and solar, can pose a risk to the reliability of the electricity service. At the same time, there are actors such as investors in intermittent renewable energy technologies that want to speed up the intake of their technologies within the power sector. With sufficient planning and the development of clear rules and guidelines, these risks are kept to a minimum, which in turn benefits both the investors and the electricity service provider.
I was fascinated when I first discovered how energy system modelling tools created scenarios of future investments while at the same time ensuring the reliability of the power system. Decision-makers could then use these different scenarios to make an informed decision on how to plan the energy transition. Having had this experience, I decided then that I would grab the opportunity that would allow me to learn more about energy system modelling.
When I was introduced to open-source energy system modelling in my Master course, I was somewhat taken aback by the need to use programming languages to create and analyse an energy system model. I had the perception back then that the world of programming was only inhabited by the people of superior intelligence and that this world was unattainable to non-programmers such as myself. Nonetheless, I decided to give it a try and to be honest, I experience a steep learning curve to arrive at a stage where I felt comfortable with programming my model. The countless hours of sitting on my computer trying to troubleshoot through error messages that made no sense to me have been worth it. I now feel that this newly acquired skill allows me to interact with a new set of tools that is continuously expanding. These tools are not limited to only energy system modelling but also allows me to process, analyse and visualise data in a more efficient manner. I am now using my newly gained skill in combination with my understanding of the fundamentals of an energy system to construct a sector-coupled GIS-based energy system model of Europe.
By ESR Christian Fleischer– email: Christian.Fleischer@uni-flensburg.de
Throughout my journey in the energy system modelling, I have adopted two key principles that have helped navigate this ever-expanding field. These are:
- openmod – Open Energy Modelling Initiative (n.d.). http://www.openmod-initiative.org (accessed April 30, 2018).
If you are interested in the specifics of the 15 research projects, you can find summaries and video explanations from the researchers here.
Our project is supported by 23 industry partner institutions.
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