Decisions made in the energy sector and energy policy generally have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences. Forward-looking analyses allow us to recognise the opportunities of new technologies at an early stage and to minimise the possible negative effects of our current actions on the environment and society. Furthermore, technologies can be examined with regard to their contribution to a future flexible energy system and the technological developments optimised systematically. Other research, such as short-term forecasting for wind and solar radiation, support the controlled operation of energy systems. Precondition for active system control is the knowledge of systems. To generate this knowledge, we develop and use methods and tools of systems analysis and technology assessments that are tailored to specific issues in the field of energy supply. We also provide knowledge to policy makers from the areas of science, the economy and government in order to guide them in developing a long-term research focus and designing framework conditions for the areas of energy, the environment and research policy.
Work on systems analysis combines top-down energy management analyses of the entire energy system at a regional, national and European level, along with bottom-up economic and technology-oriented studies. For this, we use a wide range of synergies with other research topics at DLR, such as analysing the effects of e-mobility on the transport sector, or the use of remote sensing data from space.
Work is undertaken in close collaboration with the DLR Institute of Networked Energy Systems and the DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics, and thematically in collaboration with other DLR institutes, such as the DLR Institute of Solar Research.
Knowledge of the potential of renewable energies is very important for a future energy system with a high proportion of renewable energy. To this end, information on energy resources, for example on incident solar radiation, wind potential and even land surface parameters, is obtained from various sources, such as satellite data or ground-based systems. The high spectral and temporal resolution of this data can thus provide high quality data records. These are used for the analysis and forecasting of the system behaviour of renewable energies and the operational management of power plants. Of particular significance for the operation of power grids is short-term forecasting of wind and solar radiation. New methods are being developed and implemented as an addition to existing procedures.
The economic, ecological and sociological assessment of energy technologies and systems allows us to consider all options and recommend actions. At the same time, these assessments provide the information required for modelling future energy systems and to analyse scenarios. Multicriteria assessment methods and life-cycle analyses are part of this subject area. In addition, questions regarding the acceptance of technologies, i.e. socio-cultural aspects, also play a role.
For a sustainable energy supply based on renewable energies, scenario analyses are helpful in developing concepts for a future energy system. Technical, economic and ecological features and framework conditions and the availability of renewable energies and supply structures are all taken into account. Furthermore, the costs of the various scenarios are assessed.
Grid and system modelling at various scales
The development of models, methods and algorithms for the simulation and optimisation of grids and energy systems is an important part of energy systems analysis. Here, networks are depicted at various spatial and temporal scales in order to optimise the network operation and support planning. The effects of a high proportion of renewable energy in the overall system are examined in detail. The development of open-source and open-data solutions should increase the transparency of energy models.
Economic and political aspects also play a large role in the conversion of energy systems. Market introduction strategies for new technologies and structures in the field of energy are therefore examined and developed, as well as business models for various stakeholders. These interact closely with funding mechanisms and other instruments.