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Energies 2017, 10(7), 840; doi:10.3390/en10070840

Simulation versus Optimisation: Theoretical Positions in Energy System Modelling

Department of Planning, Aalborg University, Rendsburggade 14, 9000 Aalborg, Denmark
Department of Planning, Aalborg University, A.C. Meyers Vænge 15, 2450 Copenhagen, Denmark
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Dovì
Received: 30 May 2017 / Revised: 15 June 2017 / Accepted: 18 June 2017 / Published: 23 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Fundamentals and Conversion)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [796 KB, uploaded 23 June 2017]   |  


In recent years, several tools and models have been developed and used for the design and analysis of future national energy systems. Many of these models focus on the integration of various renewable energy resources and the transformation of existing fossil-based energy systems into future sustainable energy systems. The models are diverse and often end up with different results and recommendations. This paper analyses this diversity of models and their implicit or explicit theoretical backgrounds. In particular, two archetypes are defined and compared. On the one hand, the prescriptive investment optimisation or optimal solutions approach. On the other hand the analytical simulation or alternatives assessment approach. Awareness of the dissimilar theoretical assumption behind the models clarifies differences between the models, explains dissimilarities in results, and provides a theoretical and methodological foundation for understanding and interpreting results from the two archetypes. View Full-Text
Keywords: energy system analysis; investment optimisation models; simulations models; modelling theory; renewable energy energy system analysis; investment optimisation models; simulations models; modelling theory; renewable energy

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lund, H.; Arler, F.; Østergaard, P.A.; Hvelplund, F.; Connolly, D.; Mathiesen, B.V.; Karnøe, P. Simulation versus Optimisation: Theoretical Positions in Energy System Modelling. Energies 2017, 10, 840.

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