Therefore, policy makers need to consider issues such as the effects of intermittent energy sources on the reliability and adequacy of the energy system, the impacts of rules governing the curtailment or storage of energy, or how much backup dispatchable capacity may be required to guarantee that energy demand is safely met. Many of these questions are typically addressed by detailed models of the electric power sector with a high level of technological and temporal resolution, but without considering the rest of the energy system, although these issues affect other energy sectors as well. On the other hand, typical system-wide energy models cannot easily introduce such levels of detail without becoming excessively complex, and therefore recent research projects have attempted to couple energy system models with more detailed sectoral energy models and other ad-hoc auxiliary tools.
Given the importance of this active field of research for policy-making support, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre – Institute for Energy and Transport has organised an expert workshop on "Addressing flexibility in energy system models". The objective of the workshop was to gather experts from modelling teams currently dealing with these problems from different perspectives, ranging from energy system-wide to detailed sectoral energy models, in order to share and compare modelling approaches and results, identifying gaps and potential solutions.
In the two-day long workshop held on December 4 and 5, around 40 energy modelling experts and researchers from universities, research centres, the power industry, international organisations, and the European Commission (DGs ENER and JRC) met at the premises of the JRC Institute for Energy and Transport in Petten to present and discuss their views on the modelling of flexibility issues, the linkage of energy system models and sector-detailed energy models, the integration of high shares of variable renewable energy sources, and the representation of flexibility needs in power system models.
The discussions took into account modelling and data-related methodological aspects, with their limitations and uncertainties, as well as possible alternatives to be implemented within energy system models.
The conclusions and recommendations resulting from those discussions, together with the contributions from all the participants in the workshop, will be published in 2015 as a JRC Scientific and Policy Report.