Electricity system modeling


Computer-based analysis is ubiquitous in energy policy making and policy advice: virtually all impact assessments of EU energy policies build strongly on computer models of the energy system, the Clean Energy Package being a recent example. The same is true for national and state-level policy-making – most major German energy policy decisions are grounded on computer models. Policies ranging from grid expansion to renewable portfolio standard and electricity market design are designed and evaluated based on electricity system models. Understanding such modeling techniques is a critical skill for energy policy makers and their advisers, probably more so than econometrics and other more traditional empirical methods.


This course aims to equip students with essential practical knowledge of power market modeling and energy system modeling. In particular, we will discuss the appropriateness and the limitations of models. The best – maybe only – way to truly understand energy system models is to construct one yourself, so that is what we will do. However, the ultimate goal of the course is not to turn students into electricity system modelers (this would take 2 years), but rather to make them qualified users and critical readers of model-based policy impact assessments. The course provides insights, tools, and first-hand experience to make students successful energy policy makers.


We will spend a significant amount of time doing hands-on energy modeling work, both in class and during assignments and projects. We will use Excel and the modeling software GAMS, gradually building a more sophisticated energy system model during the course of the semester. In this sense, you can think of this course as a skills course. About two thirds of the sessions are devoted to modeling, and the rest are based on lectures and discussion.

This course is for 2nd year MIA and MPP students only.


  • Lion Hirth , Assistant Professor of Governance of Digitalisation and Energy Policy