What’s new in the Energy Transition Model?
Update of the transition path charts tool
The transition path charts tool has had a significant update. With this tool you can open one of your scenarios and explore what happens between the start and end year. You can easily make changes to the slider settings for various intermediate years and thereby shape the transition path towards the future.
The update includes an improved interface, various new charts that now allow you to toggle between area and bar charts, a table view underneath the charts and the possibility to easily export data as CSV files. Check out the updated tool here!
Addition of small modular nuclear reactors
A new type of nuclear power plants has been added to the model: small modular reactors. This novel technology is now available next to the existing large reactor 2nd and 3rd generation nuclear power plants. Go to Supply → Electricity → Nuclear plants to add them to your scenario.
Load shifting in the central ICT sector
Load shifting is a form of demand side response where electricity consumers can choose to delay their electricity demand. In hours where the electricity price is deemed too high, these consumers will reduce their demand. When the price drops again, they will then compensate for the accumulated deficit by increasing their demand.
This form of demand side response was already available for the metal, chemical, and other industry. It is now also available for the central ICT sector, which covers data centers, telecom, and other information and communication services. You can add load shifting for the central ICT under Flexibility → Net load → Demand response - load shifting in industry.
Hydrogen-powered ships are now available as a technology in the transport sector. Hydrogen can be used as a fuel for inland shipping, also known as domestic navigation. Go to the Demand → Transport → Freight transport section to check it out. It can also be used as a fuel for maritime shipping, or international navigation, which you can set at the Demand → Transport → International transport section.
Hybrid hydrogen heatpump for buildings
In addition to a hybrid heatpump that uses gas, it is now also possible to heat the buildings in your scenario with a hybrid heatpump that uses hydrogen. You can find this new heating technology in the Demand → Buildings → Space heating section.
Additions and improvements for EU countries
With the inclusion of Cyprus, Estonia and Malta, all countries of the EU are now included in the ETM! You can check out these countries by selecting one of them in the region dropdown when starting a new scenario.
The base year data for these countries origins mainly from the Eurostat Energy Balances 2019 and JRC Potencia tool. For a complete overview of all data that is used, have a look at ETM Dataset Manager. The final energy demand for these EU countries was matched as much as possible to the Eurostat Energy Balances. The supply side (heat and electricity production) is more complex and has some room for improvement. Feel free to contact us with suggestions using the Contact form.
Freight transport by vans
Instead of being included in truck transport, vans are now shown in the model as a separate category of their own. This enables you to make different choices for developments in trucks and vans technologies and their use in the Demand → Transport → Freight transport section!
Explore Demand Side Response in industry
You can now explore the effects of Demand Side Response in the industry on sub sector level in the Flexibility section, under Net Load.
Capacity to shift the electricity demand can be installed for the metal, chemical, and other industry. In hours when the electricity price is too high, the sector will then be able to decrease its demand. The shortage that accumulates during those hours is caught up at a later time, when the electricity price is lower, thereby saving costs for industry.
Costs: update of charts and data export
The ETM contains new cost charts with clear catogories. The method of cost calculation has also been updated. The ETM now explicitly calculates CAPEX, OPEX and fuel costs. For all technologies these can be exported in the data export section of the ETM. For more details about cost calculations see the documentation.
Explore price-sensitive electricity demand
Previously, the use of flexible electricity demand technologies could be determined by manually setting the order in which these technologies could use electricity. This has now been replaced by price-sensitive behaviour. This means that for power-to-gas, power-to-heat and electricity storage a willingness to pay has to be set. For export, the willingness to pay is given by the prices of the interconnectors.
The behaviour for all of these technologies can be set in the Flexibility section, for Storage, Conversion and Export. New charts that can help you set the behaviour can also be found there. For storage, in addition to the willingness to pay, a willingness to accept has to be set. Alternatively, instead of the price-sensitive behaviour, a forecasting algorithm can be used to determine storage behaviour.
If it is profitable, power plants will now supply these flexible demand technologies. For example, depending on the prices, a nuclear power plant could be used to produce hydrogen through power-to-gas. This also means that power plants will produce for export when it is profitable.
Important: for scenarios that have been made before this update and in which the flexibility merit order was manually set, the willingness to pay of each technology is updated to replicate this set merit order. Please note that the impact of this model update can still be significant for existing scenarios, because the prices of the interconnectors have not been adjusted for export and import.
New EU countries can be selected for your scenarios
We are proud to share that most EU countries are now available in the ETM. The most recent data from 2019 was used to create the datasets. You can now discover the differences in energy production and consumption between France and Hungary or create a scenario for Germany.
Choose from additional steel production technologies
The Energy Transition Model has been updated with the latest insights in steel industry production technologies. The model now includes the upcoming production technology Direct Reduction of Iron (DRI), where you can choose between hydrogen or natural gas, and improvements in the existing production technologies. These new production technologies can be found in Demand → Industry → Steel.
In addition, it is now possible to choose what coal gas in the steel sector will be used for using the new sliders in Emissions → CCUS → Coal gases from blast furnaces (steel). Coal gas can either be used for electricity production or for transformation into chemical feedstock.
Innovative flexible technologies
A number of innovative technologies have been added to the ETM and can now be explored. These technologies are all aimed at improving the flexibility of the electricity system.
First, it is possible to install inland wind turbines or solar PV plants that have an integrated battery system. By changing the capacity of the battery and the grid connection you can change the profile that is supplied to the grid. In the Supply section you can install these Wind turbines and Solar plants.
Second, a new type of electricity storage is available: flow batteries. The innovative aspect of these batteries is that their volume can be scaled independently, and for relatively low costs compared to other batteries. These batteries can be found in Flexibility → Electricity storage → Flow batteries.
Third, offshore solar PV plants have been added to the model. These plants float in the sea, which increases the potential installation area for solar power in a country. They can be found in Supply → Renewable electricity → Solar power.
Finally, new heat pump systems are added. These heat pumps draw higher temperature heat from a special type of solar panels, PVT panels, making them more efficient than many other heat pumps. The panels simultaneously produce electricity. You can install these heat pumps with PVT panels in Demand → Households → Space heating & hot water.
Start year 2019 new standard for scenarios for the Netherlands
The Energy Transition Model allows you to design your own energy system for a region of your choice, by making changes to its current energy system. For the Netherlands, we have now updated the start year representing the current energy system from 2015 to 2019. This means that when you open a new scenario for the Netherlands, you will see a representation of the energy system as it was in 2019, including the level of greenhouse gas emissions, the electricity production by energy source, the share of renewable energy etc.
Important: for scenarios that have been made before this update, with 2015 as a start year, nothing has changed. You can still access and edit any old scenario you saved under “My Scenarios”.
The basis of this dataset update is the open source energy balance from Eurostat, which is complemented by a number of other data sources, such as the CBS. All of the data sources we used to create the new dataset can be found in our documentation on Github. In addition, we have improved the process of updating our datasets, thereby increasing the quality of the new Dutch dataset and any future dataset updates.
Determine the oil mix and add bio oil
It is now possible to determine the oil mix and add bio oils for households, buildings, industry and agriculture. You can do this under Supply → Biomass → Mix of oil and oil products.
Hydrogen trains are seen as an opportunity to replace diesel trains. You can now add hydrogen trains to your scenario by using the new slider in Demand → Transport → Passenger transport → Train technology.
CCS Waste incinerators
Even though waste incinerators are seen as renewable energy producers, they still emit greenhouse gases. With Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) it is possible to prevent the emission of greenhouse gases, making waste incineration more climate friendly. You can now add CCS to waste incinerators in Emissions → CCUS → Capture of CO2.
Air heat pump buildings
Air heat pumps in buildings are used as a method to provide heating or cooling. Previously it was not possible to incorporate air heat pumps within buildings but with the addition of a heat pump slider in Demand → Buildings → Space heating & Cooling you can add them to your scenario.
Costs section restructured and new efficiency sliders
The ‘Costs’ section in the ETM has been restructured and new sliders were added describing the efficiencies of technologies. This means you can now adjust the efficiencies of most technologies within the ETM. You can find the efficiency sliders under Electricity, Renewable electricity and Heat. The ‘Costs’ sidebar item has been renamed to ‘Costs & efficiencies’.
Condensing combi boiler (hydrogen) added for households and buildings
It is now possible to add condensing combi boilers on hydrogen for space heating and hot water to your scenario. Go to Demand → Households → Space heating & hot water to adjust the slider.
New Greenhouse gases section
An Emissions item has been added to the sidebar consisting of the existing ‘CCUS’ section and a new ‘Greenhouse gases’ section. In the new Greenhouse gases section you can view and make assumptions about non-energetic CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases. All energetic CO2emissions are automatically calculated in the ETM based on the energy system. By adding non-energetic CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases to the ETM you can now get an overview of all emissions in your area. These emissions are now also included in the updated Greenhouse gas footprint.
Greenhouse gas footprint update
The emissions that were added to the new emissions section have also been added to the Greenhouse gas footprint. This means that the footprint now gives an overview of all emissions within your area.
Regional source data available in ETM Dataset Manager
When you start a new scenario in the Energy Transition Model, source data for the present year is loaded into the model. This data represents the current state of the energy system of the region that you have selected. This present state is used as the basis for modelling your future scenario and is unique for every region.
To increase transparency, we have developed an online and version-controlled environment for the documentation of the regional source data: the ETM Dataset Manager. It gives a complete and structured overview of all data and sources used for the regions. At the moment, mostly regions within countries are included; in the long run all countries will also become available through the ETM Dataset Manager.
In the ETM we have added a button directing you to the selected region in the ETM Dataset Manager to view the source data, which may be found in Results & data → Source data.
New chart showing the provision of flexibility
We have added a new chart showing the installed capacity of flexible supply and demand technologies; for example power-to-gas electrolyzers or gas power plants. Comparing those capacities to the maximum shortage and excess peak can help you determine whether you have installed enough flexible capacity to balance your energy system.
The chart can be found in Flexibility → Overview where we have also updated the explanations accompanying the other charts in this section. We now discuss the inflexible demand and supply and the residual load curves in more detail.
New chart showing the stored volume of electricity
A relevant performance metric for electricity storage technologies is the extent to which they are utilised. We have visualised the charging and discharging behaviour of these technologies in a new chart which shows the hourly stored volume of electricity.
You can find the chart in Flexibility → Excess electricity → Storage. You can choose to view all of the electricity storage technologies at once, or just one of…
- Batteries in households
- Batteries in electric vehicles
- Large-scale batteries
- Underground pumped hydro storage
- Reservoirs (depending on the selected region)
New charts showing the need for flexibility
Natural patterns like seasons (yearly), the variations in weather (weekly), day and night and our rhythm of waking up, going to work, coming home, etc. cause both the need for energy and the availability of energy to fluctuate. Flexibility is about balancing energy supply and demand on all these timescales.
We have added the section Flexibility → Overview to the ETM with four interactive charts in which you can see how supply and demand compare on various timescales. These charts show:
- Monthly supply and demand volumes
- Imbalance of monthly supply and demand volumes
- The need for flexibility: volume
- The need for flexibility: capacity
A detailed explanation can be found in the documentation.
The ETM calculates the hourly production and demand of gas, electricity, heat, and hydrogen. It is now also possible to upload and work with your own curves in the Flexibility → Modify Profiles section. There are three types of profiles you can modify:
- Demand profiles (e.g. electric buses, industrial heating)
- Production profiles (e.g. solar PV, wind offshore)
- Price curves (e.g. for power interconnectors)
The chart on the right shows all profiles which you may customise. If you upload a custom profile this is directly reflected in the chart.
Check out the Curves documentation for more information.
Download charts as images
Need to use a chart in a report, or want to share it with colleagues? All charts in the model can now be downloaded as a high-resolution image by clicking the button just above the chart.
Carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS)
Carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) is a group of emissions reduction technologies that can be applied across the energy system. The ETM now takes into account CCUS applications in much more detail than before.
The ETM models four types of carbon capture:
- Capture in industry. A distinction is now made between various sub sectors and production technologies and their respective capture potentials, costs and energy requirements.
- Capture in the power sector
- Capture for hydrogen production
- Direct Air Capture, a process of capturing CO2 directly from the ambient air using electricity.
The ETM models four types of carbon usage:
- Offshore storage
- Utilisation of CO2 as feedstock for synthetic kerosene production
- Utilisation of CO2 as feedstock for synthetic methanol production
- Other utilisation, such as propellant gas for beer and soda or for the cultivation of crops in greenhouses.
The ETM models two types of carbon transportation:
- Via pipelines
- Liquefied transport in ships
The ETM can now deal with so-called ‘negative’ CO2 emissions. Such emissions may arise when applying carbon capture to processes using biomass or when CO2 is captured directly from the ambient air using Direct Air Capture technology. See our documentation for more.
Scenario Navigation bar
A new scenario navigation bar has been added which shows the region and end year for your scenario; when you open one of your saved scenarios, the scenario name is also shown making it easier to have multiple scenarios open in different browser tabs. Quickly save your scenario with the “Save scenario” button on the right. It’s now easier to access all of your saved scenarios by visiting “My scenarios”.
Interaction possible with other models from the Mondaine Suite
Multiple energy models are used to explore different parts of the complex challenge of the energy transition. A collaboration between these models makes it possible to exploit the strengths of each individual model. In the context of the Mondaine project, the Energy System Description Language (ESDL) has been developed to support the communication between the different models - it allows the models to ‘speak’ the same language. ESDL can be used to describe information about spatial, technical, economical, social and temporal aspects of the energy transition, all in relation to each other. This makes it possible for a model to build further upon information from another model. The energy system defined in an ESDL file will be converted into slider settings - this makes it possible to explore the future energy system in the ETM and allows you to continue working on the scenario.
Check out the ESDL import functionality here!
Multiple electrical interconnectors
Many countries import and export electricity with their neighbors through different interconnectors, and the ETM used to model this with a single electricity interconnector. However, in the real-world countries often have multiple interconnectors with different neighbours, each with their own capacity, price, and availability.
The ETM now models up to six independent interconnectors, each of which have configurable capacity, CO2 emissions, and price. You may choose whether to export only excess electricity, or if dispatchable plants may also produce electricity destined for export. You can realistically model all electricity flows across the borders of your country, and see an overview of all these electricity flows in a new chart.
Discover this new functionality in the Flexibility → Import/Export section!
Heat demand curves for buildings and agriculture
The hourly heat demand curves in the buildings and agriculture sector are now temperature dependent. This means that the shape of the demand curves will change depending on the selected weather year. Previously, the ETM used static demand profiles for the buildings sector and a flat profile for agriculture. Both sectors now use the same profile, based on data from large gas consumers, which is generated dynamically using weather data. As a result, this profile is now also available for the weather years 1987, 1997, and 2004. Heat demand in buildings and agriculture responds to outdoor temperature fluctuations, just like households heating demand.
Get insight in the impact of the weather year selection on demand curves in the Flexibility → Weather conditions section!
Impact of outdoor temperature on yearly energy demand
The impact of a higher or lower average outdoor temperature has been revised. In addition to heating and cooling demand in households and buildings, changing outdoor temperature now also affects heating demand in the agriculture sector. Heating demand in all three sectors now is more sensitive to temperature changes; the impact of temperature on heat demand is based on research by the Dutch gas TSO. See our documentation page for more info. This improvement is relevant for both the temperature slider and the weather year selection.
Check out this improvement in the Flexibility → Weather conditions section!
Curtailment of solar panels
Installing a large capacity of solar PV panels may cause high peak demands on the electricity network. It is therefore desirable to be able to curtail these peaks. In some cases it might be smart to connect solar parks to a certain percentage of its peak power. It is now possible to set the curtailment as a percentage of the peak power in the ETM.
Discover the curtailment of solar panels in the Flexibility → Net load section!
Convert excess electricity into heat for district heating
It is now possible to convert electricity excesses from solar and wind production into heat for district heating. This can be done by means of a power-to-heat (P2H) electric boiler and a P2H heat pump that only produce heat when there is an excess of electricity. The produced heat can be used immediately or can be stored for later use. For example, it is now possible to use solar and wind electricity excesses to heat households during winter.
Check out the P2H sliders for district heating in the Flexibility → Excess electricity → Conversion section!
Get insight in behaviour of hybrid heat pumps
The efficiency of hybrid heat pumps (HHP) is dependent on the ambient temperature and is depicted by the coefficient of performance (COP). The COP becomes lower as the outside temperature decreases. In the ETM you can set the COP threshold above which the HHP switches from gas to electricity. You can choose a setting that is most financially attractive for the consumer, but you can also choose a setting that produces less impact on the electricity network. Two charts have been added to assist the user in making this choice: a chart showing the cost-optimal threshold COP based on the consumer gas/electricity price and a chart showing gas and electricity demand per hour.
Get insight in hybrid heat pump behavior in the Flexibility → Net load section!
Improved heating demand curves for households
The improved hourly heating demand curves used in the ETM better account for the concurrency of heating demand. The new curves are based on the average demand of 300 houses. Previously, demand curves were based on individual households which led to an overestimation of demand peaks.
Note: Because the heat demand peaks for households are lower, the results of your scenario might change. For example, when many houses are connected to district heating fewer back-up boilers may be required. If many houses have a heat pump installed, the peak load on the electricity grid will be reduced. If you are having trouble understanding the differences, don’t hesitate to email us.
Data export adjusted
In the data export, the hourly electricity curves for space heating in households have been broken down into series for individual heating technologies. This makes it possible to view the electricity hourly demand curve for air source heat pumps and other electric heating technologies.
January | February 2020
District heating improved and expanded
The modeling of district heating has been improved and expanded!
Heating networks in households, buildings, and agriculture have been merged into one network (“residential district heating”). It is no longer possible to exchange excess heat between industrial (steam) networks and residential networks.
The demand and production of heat for residential district heating is now calculated on a hourly basis instead of on an annual basis.
A distinction is made between “must-run” sources and “dispatchable” sources. Dispatchables only run if the must-runs do not produce enough to meet the demand. Their operating hours and profiles are therefore variable. Users can set which heaters start first
It is now possible to use large-scale solar thermal plants for residential district heating
Users can choose to turn seasonal heat storage ‘on’. In that case, overproduction of must-run sources is stored for later use instead of being dumped
Residual heat from the fertilizer, chemical, refining, and IT sectors can be used and fed into residential district heating networks. View our documentation on GitHub for the method and sources used
The cost calculation for heat infrastructure has been improved. Instead of calculating a fixed amount per connection, the costs are now subdivided into indoor costs, distribution costs (pipelines, substations) and primary network costs. The cost calculation has been aligned with the Vesta MAIS model, making comparisons and exchange of outcomes between the ETM and Vesta MAIS easier. View our documentation on GitHub for more information.
CHPs modeled differently
All CHPs (with the exception of biogas-CHP) now also work as dispatchable in the electricity merit order, including the industrial CHPs. CHPs are therefore now running primarily for the electricity market. Their heat production is therefore a “given” (must-run) for heat networks. Previously, CHPs were uncontrollable and ran with a fixed, flat production profile. This change may have an impact on your scenario outcomes!
Wind load curves improved
The wind load curves for the default dataset of the Netherlands are now created using the same (KNMI-based) method as used for the extreme weather years (1987, 1997, 2004). This ensures more consistency between the different datasets for the Netherlands. Check out our Github documentation for a more detailed explanation of this method.
Documentation more accessible
For certain sliders it was already possible to view the technical specifications so that you could see our assumptions. Now we go one step further and for many sliders we also make our entire background analysis available (which is already on GitHub) at the touch of a button. From the technical specifications table you can download this analysis directly as an Excel file.
Download slider settings
For saved scenarios it is possible to download the values of your sliders as a CSV file. This can be useful if you want to list all your scenario changes. View your saved scenarios via “User> My scenarios” (top right in the ETM) and click on the title of the desired scenario. Now enter ‘.csv’ after the url (so you get pro.energytransitionmodel.com/saved_scenarios/0000.csv) and the download starts immediately.
Data export adjusted
The format of the load and price curves of electricity has recently changed. For each column in the data export the extension “input” or “output” is used to indicate whether the data represents demand or supply of electricity. Flexibility solutions have two columns now, both for the electricity input and output. With these changes, the format of the data exports of electricity, network gas and hydrogen are more consistent.
You can find the adjusted data export here in the Data export → Merit order price section.