Video lectures will be made public in April 2021.


Semester 2

Module Objective:

Energy systems models are mathematical models made to represent and abstract different features of the energy system. They have many forms and different purposes. To name a few of the questions we build energy systems models to answer:

- To estimate how much additional power generation capacity will be needed to meet demand over the next 5 years
- To understand which set of energy technologies and fuels can be used to meet national CO2 reduction targets over the next 10, 20 30 or 40 years
- To calculate the impact of a new policy like a carbon tax, renewable fuel obligation, EV deployment target on energy demand, CO2 emissions, fuel price and so on
- How we should best decarbonise home heating - heat pumps, hydrogen, or biofuels? How much should the homes be retrofitted and what timing?
- How we might tackle energy fuel poverty and air pollution from the energy system?

These models are built and operated by energy industries, academics and policymakers to understand key dynamics and to inform important decisions about the future of the energy system. However, there is a maxim “all models are wrong, but some are useful” - and models are only as useful as the data, assumptions and equations they’re built with - “rubbish in, rubbish out” is another maxim.

The objective of this module is to learn about energy systems and how they’re modelled to answer specific questions. A number of different model types will be introduced, including the underlying theory, software packages (or simple examples in Excel) and practical examples of their application from research, industry and policy use.

Module Content:

Technical, environmental, economic and market modelling of energy systems. Modelling national energy demand and supply. Macro-economic top-down modelling and techno-economic bottom up modelling. Partial equilibrium and general equilibrium modelling. Decomposition and energy intensity analysis. Modelling renewable energy systems. Introduction to specific modelling tools and software packages, including a selection of: MATLAB Simulink, LEAP, RETScreen, SAM, MARKAL - TIMES and PLEXOS.

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to: - Model a country’s energy demand and supply using a simulation methodology - Model wind turbine control using a computer software simulation tool - Determine the viability of a renewable energy project using RETScreen or SAM software - Demonstrate an understanding of the key steps undertaken by Eirgrid to model generation adequacy - Model electricity dispatch with a given demand and generation portfolio using PLEXOS - Explain the key features of macro-economic and techno-economic energy forecasting models - Generate energy forecasts using simple modelling based on energy intensity.