Energy System Modelling (ESM)

The group "Energy System Modelling" researches the most cost-effective pathways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the energy system. We do this by building computer models of the energy system for simulation and optimisation. In particular we focus on:

  • How to reduce emissions in all energy sectors, including electricity, transport, heating and industry
  • The requirements for electricity grid reinforcement with large shares of wind and solar generation, and increased energy trade
  • Using sectoral integration to reduce the need for transmission grid reinforcement (since new overhead power lines are controversial in many parts of Europe)
  • Algorithms to increase the tractability of energy system and grid optimisation
  • Understanding where model details and interdependencies are important and where they're not
  • Heuristics that mimic full-system optimisation but are easier to analyse and explain
  • Near-optimal solutions that are cost-effective but achieve high levels of public acceptance
  • Open source software and open data to enhance transparency and reproducibility

We use methodologies from a wide variety of disciplines, including informatics, engineering, economics, physics, mathematics, geography, geology and meteorology.

The group is funded by a Helmholtz Young Investigator Group Grant to Dr. Tom Brown until 2024. He headed the “Energy System Modelling” group at the IAI until March 2021 (until he was appointed to the TU Berlin).

Open-Source Software

We seek to ensure that all our work is done with open data and free software, so that it is transparent and reproducable for other researchers and interested parties.

The core of our modelling is done with our tool "Python for Power System Analysis (PyPSA)":

Furthermore, we are developing the open model data set of the European electricity grid at transmission grid level PyPSA-Eur:

Further open source software, which is and was co-developed by current and former members of the working group:

Other open source software from the Helmholtz Association that we use:

Optimization results from a PyPSA-Eur model