Research project InvestAgent

Investigation of investment behaviour in the renewable electricity sector using actor-focused agent-based modelling

The transformation of our energy system will only succeed with considerable investment in infrastructure and new technologies. Part of this effort is the electricity sector which needs to meet ambitious targets for the expansion of renewable energies while maintaining a long-term security of energy supply. A successful transformation depends largely on the willingness of private actors to invest in renewable energy plants, storage facilities and flexible generators. Against this backdrop, the InvestAgent research project (funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action) is developing new methods to model the investment behaviour in the electricity sector more realistically.

Research project InvestAgent

 

Duration

November 2023 to October 2025

Funded by

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action

Project participants

  • Institute of Networked Energy Systems
  • University of Stuttgart – Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies (ZIRIUS)

The project participants are paying particular attention to the motivations and behavioural patterns on which investment decisions are based. Profit expectations and often subsidy and incentive models are decisive factors here. However, decisions are made under uncertainty regarding future developments. Incomplete information and heterogeneous expectations of uncertain future developments therefore influence the decision-making process. Accordingly, the decision strategies of the actors and their expectations are at the center of the investigation. To gain insight into the practical process of energy investment, the research work is supported by an advisory board. It is made up of companies and associations from the fields of banking and financing as well as energy operations. An online survey spread within these sectors is used to investigate which decision-making patterns and planning criteria exist.  These empirical findings are then transferred into a computer model and applied in a case study for the German electricity market.

Figure 1: The AMIRIS electricity market model (right) is used to implement the investment decisions of various stakeholders (left) based on uncertain forecasts.

The agent-based electricity market simulation model AMIRIS ("Agent-based Market Model for the Investigation of Renewable and Integrated Energy Systems") developed at DLR serves as the modeling basis. The Institute of Networked Energy Systems is responsible for enhancing the simulation tool to model heterogeneous economic forecasts and capture the logic of investment decisions (see Figure 1). Individual actors make individual decisions based on the information available to them. The decommissioning and continued operation of plants is also considered. The high computational efficiency of the model allows researchers to analyse a large number of possible future scenarios in a reasonable amount of time.

The methods developed in the InvestAgent project will be used to evaluate the effects of potential new regulatory measures on the electricity market. In this way, we create a “silicon laboratory” for policy makers to test their ideas before introduction. It can serve as a starting point to design effective policies to meet our expansion targets and combat climate change while maintaining the security of energy supply.

Contact

Energy Economics

Research Group
Institute of Networked Energy Systems
Car-von-Ossietzky-Str. 15, 26129 Oldenburg