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Energy Systems Analysis and Planning Group

 

Further information

 

Research work

Research undertaken by the group has incorporated a wide variety of aspects including cost, economic interactions, pricing, environmental accounting and behavioural aspects of energy demand and supply. Such research has included the identification and quantification of large investments, possibilities for trade, the impact on greenhouse gas emissions and other socio-economic effects of single or multi-country energy systems. Research for site specific industrial plants or small communities with the focus on more sustainable and efficent use of resources is another area of group’s expertise.

Single segments of the energy system, such least cost expansion planning or renewable energy strategies for the electricity sector have been continuous interest areas and components of the wider energy modelling performed by the group.

Key to the approaches utilised is the identification of trade offs, costs and benefits and recommending optimal and acceptable solutions.

 

Research tools

The group has expertise in a number of modelling tools and techniques which include least-cost energy-environment-economic software and systems dynamics tools. These include MARKAL, TIMES, MESSAGE, LEAP, MAED, Vensimm and Analytica. In addition to the use of these tools the group develops analysis tools such as SNAPP and endeavours towards better information management of energy data. The group has populated a number of technology databases for analysis at city, national and regional level and has these available for further research in these areas.

 

Collaborations

The modelling work  of the group is generally performed as part of close collaborations with other research groups at the ERC and other energy research groups around the world from whom useful knowledge is drawn and experience exchanged. The international groups include:

The modelling work  of the group is generally performed as part of close collaborations with other research groups at the ERC and other energy research groups around the world from whom useful knowledge is drawn and experience exchanged. The international groups include:

 

The Programme for Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD) at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, USA
   
The Institute for the Rational Use of Energy (IER) at the University of Stuttgart, Germany
   
The Department of Energy Technology at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Sweden

 

The group has also collaborated on economics, statistics and engineering groups at UCT as well as other South African based groups such as Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Members of the group are active participants in energy model development forums and workshops Examples of these include the International Energy Workshop (IEW), the International Energy Agency’s Energy Technology Systems and Planning Programme (ETSAP), the community for Energy the envirnoment and Development (COMMEND).

 

Professional affiliations

The group is an acknowledged International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Designated Training Centre and part of The South African National Energy Research Institute’s (SANERI) Centre for Energy Systems Analysis and Research (CESAR).

 

Regional Designated Training Centre

In 2009 the ERC became a Regional Designated Training Centre (RDC) for the International Atomic Energy Agency. As an RDC the ERC is responsible for building capacity in modelling and planning within governments throughout Africa through internships and courses.

 

Centre for Energy Systems Analysis Research

SANERI recognised the leading role the ERC plays in South Africa’s energy planning and capacity building when establishing its Centre for Energy Systems Analysis Research (CESAR) of which ERC is a founding partner.

 

Training

UCT is  the only South African University that has built (and continues to build) capacity to carry out Integrated Energy Modelling and the only University to have completed national modelling and planning initiatives.

In 2004, the ERC introduced an energy modelling and planning course into the curriculum of Energy Research Centre’s taught Masters degree offering. The course introduces students to the integrated energy planning process and tools and modelling platforms for integrated energy planning. In addition ERC has played a role in training government energy officials both through participation in the Masters courses and through the development of specialised training programmes. The ERC is currently the only University in South Africa to offer energy modelling and planning courses.