Electricity system modeling

The paramount role of models in energy policy. Computer-based methods are 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. 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 statistical methods.

Learning objectives: This course aims to equip students with essential practical knowledge on power market and energy system modeling. In particular, the appropriateness and the limitations of models are discussed. The best – maybe only – way to truly understand energy system model is to construct one yourself, so that is what we will do. However, the ultimate goal of the course is not to train students as electricity system modelers, but rather to make them qualified readers of model-based policy impact assessments.

Topics: We will spend a significant amount of time doing handy-on energy modeling work, both in class and during assignments/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 skill course. About two thirds of the sessions will be devoted to modeling, where the rest are based on lecture and discussion.

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


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