There are many visions of the future of Europe’s electricity system. Wind power from the North Sea could be balanced across the whole continent and large amounts of solar power could come from North Africa, both enabled be the development of an interconnected transmission ‘super-grid’. Many projections for the EU energy sector are heavily reliant on increased electrical interconnection, but how feasible are these from an engineering and an economic point of view?

The DESSTINEE model (Demand for Energy Services, Supply and Transmission in EuropE) a model of the European energy system in 2050, with a focus on the electricity system. The model is designed to test assumptions about the technical requirements for energy transport (particularly for electricity), and the scale of the economic challenge to develop the necessary infrastructure.  Forty countries are considered in and around Europe, and 10 forms of primary and secondary energy.  The model uses a predictive simulation technique, rather than solving a partial or general equilibrium.  Data is therefore specified by the user (exogenously), and the model calculates a set of answers for the given set of assumptions.

The model was developed as part of the EPSRC funded Grand Challenge: Transforming the Top and Tail.  Its initial purpose was to provide other consortium members with an easily accessible tool to explore potential energy transfer requirements around Europe to inform the design and topology of a potential high voltage DC (HVDC) super-grid.  Due to its general nature, it could be easily adapted for other studies into electricity markets and trading, exploring the feasibility of 2050 energy scenarios, and the like. 

The DESSTINEE model is available as a set of standalone Excel spreadsheets which perform three tasks:

  • Project annual energy demands at country-level forwards to 2050;
  • Synthesise hourly profiles for electricity demand in 2010 and 2050;
  • Simulate the least-cost generation and transmission of electricity around the continent.

The model will be freely available to download and use, see: Getting the DESSTINEE Model.

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