Supporting Clients through the Energy Transition
Energy Reform provides a broad range of services, assisting clients adapt their businesses and exploit the opportunities presented by the drive to net-zero energy systems.
Modelling fit for the Energy Transition
Increasing shares of variable renewables presents challenges in operating, planning and modelling energy systems. This is Energy Reform's core area of expertise.
Decarbonisation of electricity systems represents a significant challenge on a number of levels. It has become increasingly evident that hydrogen, storage and Power to X will play significant roles in the overall future global energy system, leading to increased electrification and sector coupling. It is necessary to have a far better and more detailed understanding of the role that these and other technologies can play in meeting ambitious global decarbonisation targets via multiple potential transition pathways.
Answering these questions requires advanced modelling capabilities. The team at Energy Reform have been working together on these challenges for the past decade and more, including participation in IEA Wind Task 25 and the Spine energy system modelling project. The team comprises an ideal combination of academic research, industry and global thought-leadership that is uniquely placed to comprehensively address your energy system modelling requirements.
The Modelling Challenge
Modelling the challenges and opportunities associated with the energy transition call for specific methodologies which address well-known modelling issues.
Operational and market-based dispatch models often struggle to capture long-term phenomena like seasonal storage, optimal investments and the interactions between them. At the same time, long-term storage and investment models often lack the operational detail and sophistication to be able to capture the flexibility value of long-term storage and their impact on potential investment decisions across a range of technologies and over long timescales.
This aspect of the modelling task is hugely important in order to capture the full benefits of technologies such as hydrogen production, generation and long-term storage. For example, investments in hydrogen technologies such as electrolysis, underground long-term storage and hydrogen generation technologies will make more renewable energy capacity economical by reducing curtailments and enabling greater capacities, while investments in renewable energy make storage and hydrogen technologies become ever more viable.
To capture these interdependencies, a particularly sophisticated model is required where detailed operational issues such as curtailments can impact long term issues like long-term storage trajectories and storage investments. Many mainstream models fail to capture sufficient detail in such long-term models. This is because long-term models must cover long investment timeframes to properly weigh benefits against costs, leading to a need to make simplifications that preclude capturing sufficient operational detail.
Thus, using conventional modelling, it is very difficult to simultaneously capture the long-term value of technologies such as hydrogen storage whilst simultaneously capturing the short-term flexibility value, which should both be considered for optimal investment decisions. This has been an area of research which the Energy Reform team have been actively engaged in over the past number of years, leading specifically to the development of “Spine”, a next-generation energy system modelling software suite developed specifically from the ground up to address these modelling challenges.
 See www,spine-model.org and https://github.com/Spine-project