Time: 12 Noon
Location: Wean Hall 3701 Conference Room
Speaker: Evelina Trutnevyte
Topic: Does cost optimization approximate the real-world energy transition?
Modeling for energy policy analysis is often grounded in an assumption that economic rationale is the key driver of the future energy transition. For example, widely-used bottom-up energy system models optimize total system costs to produce energy scenarios for decades ahead. Using ex-post UK electricity system modeling in 1990-2014, I will show that cost optimization does not necessarily approximate the real-world energy transition. The deviation in cumulative total system costs from the optimal solution is 9-23% in 25 years under various technology, cost, demand, and discount rate assumptions. Cost-optimal scenarios, in fact, gloss over a large share of uncertainty that arises due to deviations from cost optimality. I will then demonstrate that exploration of large ensembles of near-optimal scenarios under parametric uncertainty can give indication of the envelope of predictability for the real-world transition. I will close with a reflective discussion about the tension between predictive and exploratory use of energy system models.
View a video of the seminar here.