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Energy Demand modelling at Risø DTU

PhD project decription for Erika Zvingilaite

Energy demand modelling is a part of the larger project with objective to establish an interdisciplinary based system for optimisation of future planning of energy consumption, production and supply with respect to costs related to effect on environment and human health.
When modelling and optimising future energy system investment pathways, the demand side is equally important as the supply side and large potentials for more efficient and flexible use of energy exist. Nevertheless, the demand side is often treated exogenously in energy system models. The PhD will be a study and development of an energy demand model – an endogenous part of a larger optimisation chain. Demand of electricity, heat and fuel by households, trade and service, industry and transport will be included in the model. The geographical scope of the project is Northern Europe i.e. Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Germany.
The distinctive feature of the project is the focus on effects on human health and related costs, caused by energy consumption and expected benefits from energy efficiency improvements. The project will analyse demand for energy in different sectors taking into account different energy technologies, efficiency improvement possibilities, possibilities to replace the use of one energy form with another etc., and focusing on impacts on human health from different types of pollution from energy system and striving to reduce these impacts. Energy demand sector has either direct effect on the health (e.g. transport sector) or indirect (for instance through consumption of electricity that is produced in polluting power plants). The objective is to identify and classify different types of energy demand that causes major impacts on human health and detect the most effective improvement possibilities for demand side of energy system. Thus energy efficiency measures will be associated with the benefits – reduced costs related to effects on human health and environment. Transport sector here clearly will play an important role.
There are two different approaches for modelling energy demand – bottom-up and top-down.  Conventional bottom-up models describe energy consumption technologies in detail while often lacking to represent microeconomic decision-making by consumers when choosing technology and to include potential macroeconomic equilibrium feedbacks. While top-down modelling methodology includes these micro- and macroeconomic aspects and in that way links energy sector with the wider economy, it usually has a poor technology representation. There has also been developed several models that combine these two approaches – so called hybrid energy-economy models. The PhD project will use the experience of existing modelling approaches and will further develop the methodology in order to build-up a new energy demand optimisation model that is technology explicit (includes technological possibilities for efficiency improvements), takes into account consumer behaviour, and allows to evaluate benefits of improved air quality, particularly to human health, and assess policy instruments by including equilibrium feedbacks from the rest of economy.
Thus the goals of the project are:
  •     to classify and analyse energy demand sectors and improvement possibilities with regard to impacts on human health
  •     to develop energy demand optimisation model with focus on human health and with detailed representation of energy-efficiency technologies and microeconomic decision making
  •     to expand model to include macroeconomic equilibrium feedbacks and perform energy policy analysis

Dato: 12-Nov-2009