Modelling of Flexibility-Centric Energy Systems: Operation, Planning and Policymaking

Amos Schledorn: Next-Generation Energy System Models for Low-Carbon Societies: How can new mathematical models achieve more flexible demand, smarter system operation and better climate policy?

Failing to stop climate change would be fatal. In order to achieve low-carbon societies, governments need to implement the right climate policies and energy systems have to run on renewable energy.

Traditionally, energy systems have been dominated by a centralized system of large fossil-fuel-fired generation units. Here, energy system operation meant controlling the production levels of these units to match demand. The transformation to renewable energy flips that by 180 degrees, and now the challenge becomes controlling demand to match variable renewable generation in real-time, so demand instead of supply needs to be flexible. However, the mathematical models that are used to plan climate policy and energy system operation are still based on traditional energy systems, since they are largely unable to reflect flexible energy demand.

This PhD project tackles the issue from different angles. On the operational level, optimization models are developed to improve the operation of Danish district heating systems connected to the power system. These models help unlock the large flexibility potential of the district heating sector, which will contribute to balancing volatile power generation from renewable sources and to reducing carbon emissions.

On the energy system planning and climate policy level, an adequate representation of end-consumer behavior will be formulated for large-scale energy system models. When planning energy systems, we cannot simply assume that an energy system operator can dictate demand levels of end-consumers. Instead, end-consumer behavior will be directly integrated into energy system models by estimating consumer responses to energy flexibility from data. Here, the goal is to better model both short-term operation and long-term planning of power and heat systems taking into account the fact that modern flexibility-centric energy systems are also human-centric. This will lead to better energy system planning and support for policymakers.

The PhD study contributes to the Horizon 2020 project OpenENTRANCE, that aims to develop an open modelling platform for European low-carbon transitions. It is also part of the Innovation Fund Denmark project HEAT 4.0, which has the objective of developing intelligent solutions for the Danish district heating sector.

PhD project

By: Amos Schledorn

Section: Dynamical Systems

Principal supervisor: Henrik Madsen

Co-supervisors: Daniela Guericke, Dominik Franjo Dominkovic, Giulia de Zotti

Project title: Modelling of Flexibility-Centric Energy Systems: Operation, Planning and Policymaking

Term: 01/09/2020 → 31/08/2023


Amos Schledorn
DTU Compute


Henrik Madsen
Professor, Head of section
DTU Compute
+45 45 25 34 08



Dominik Franjo Dominkovic
Senior Researcher
DTU Compute
+45 93 51 15 30