Elisabeth Wetterlund (left) and Anna Krook-Riekkola, researchers at the research subject Energy Engineering, LTU. View original picture , opens in new tab/window

System analysis important in the transition to renewable energy

Published: 21 February 2014

Researchers Anna Krook-Riekkola and Elisabeth Wetterlund at Luleå University of Technology will in a new project investigate the possibilities for increased use of biomass in the Swedish district heating networks.

The project is part of the research program Fjärrsyn funded by the district heating sector and the Swedish Energy Agency. Both researchers will make use of two different models for energy analysis, BeWhere Sweden and Times-Sweden. The models differ in the way that the Times-Sweden model covers the entire energy system with a national perspective, while BeWhere focuses on biomass use with a better representation at regional and local level. The time perspective in the models may extend as far as 2050.

Competition for biomass

– Biomass is a limited resource that can be used in many different places in and outside the energy system, which means that different sectors are competing for the commodity. By implementing various instruments, it will change the competitive situation for biomass between sectors. Although we will focus on the district heating sector, we start from a holistic perspective to understand how various factors affect the district heating conditions, says Anna Krook-Riekkola, newly recruited researcher at the research subject Energy Engineering at LTU.

– We have, for example, the recently completed investigation about a fossil free transporation secotr and if it results in sharp political instruments it could lead to increased price of biomass in other sectors, and it can be difficult to achieve the goals of increased electricity from renewable energy in the district heating sector, says Elisabeth Wetterlund, who is also a new researcher at Energy Engineering, LTU.

Want to improve the models

The purpose of the project is twofold. Firstly, to improve the existing energy system models, and secondly to develop decision support in the form of various policy scenarios.

– We want to improve the national system analyzes in general. Being able to get to a link between local, regional and national level. It is also important that there is transparency in the models, that we can explain why the outcome was that it was, says Anna Krook-Riekkola.

– When looking at different scenarios, you sort of creates a space of possible developments. If there is a big difference between different scenarios, that is an evidence of a built-in uncertainty in the system. This in turn shows that without long-term thinking in policy instruments, no companies dare to invest. You should also identify parameters that are particularly important. Using a sensitivity analysis, we can show that factors, such as price of electricity, has a large influence on the outcome, says Elisabeth Wetterlund.

With the recruitment of Elisabeth and Anna, the research subject Energy Engineering at LTU now further strengthens its capabilities in the field of systems analysis, something not least financiers are interested in when they want to know what impact a new technology has, seen from a wider perspective.

Anna Krook-Riekkola

Krook-Riekkola, Anna - Associate Senior Lecturer

Organisation: Energy Engineering, Energy Science, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics
Phone: +46 (0)920 492552
Room: E157 - Luleå»
Elisabeth Wetterlund

Wetterlund, Elisabeth - Associate Professor

Organisation: Energy Engineering, Energy Science, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics
Phone: +46 (0)920 491056
Room: E152 - Luleå»