New report uses open models & data to identify paths to free Europe from Russian gas

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Jesse Jenkins

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Jul 9, 2022, 12:09:46 PMJul 9
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Dear OpenMod community,

I wanted to quickly share a new report my ZERO Lab just released that uses open models and open data to address an urgent public policy question: how to free Europe from Russian gas dependence?

We began this analysis in the immediate aftermath of Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. In particular, Wilson Ricks, Mike Lau, and Neha Patankar volunteered their spare time (above and beyond normal research and academic responsibilities) to conduct detailed modeling and analysis of European gas & electric grids. 

We benefited from the open source Pypsa-EUR model from Tom Brown and others on this list, ported the data over to our open source GenX model, and developed a new open source model of the ENTSO-G gas transmission system. The latter benefited tremendously from the push for data transparency in European energy systems that many of you have spearheaded over the years.

We use these macro-energy systems models to ensure reliability of the gas and electric systems and identify multiple feasible pathways for Europe to completely eliminate dependence on Russian gas imports before this winter heating season and to sustain the effort through the challenging 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 heating years. 

The full report is available along with all data and results and open source model code at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6811675

I published this Twitter thread yesterday to share the work: https://twitter.com/JesseJenkins/status/1545433516841881603

Please share with contacts with decision makers or influencers in Europe or the UK, if you are so inclined. Cheers,

--

____________________

Jesse D. Jenkins

Assistant Professor | Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and

Andlinger Center for Energy & Environment

Princeton University


Affiliated Faculty | Center for Policy Research on Energy & Environment (C-PREE), Princeton School of Public & International Affairs

Associated Faculty | High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI)

 

jessej...@princeton.edu

503-333-1737 (m)

Office: 214 Andlinger

Robbie Morrison

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Jul 9, 2022, 3:23:40 PMJul 9
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Hi Jesse and GenX crew

Many thanks. To respond to a couple of recent points that were raised on Jesse's twitter thread. The German nuclear fleet will not restart ever:

Mothballed coal plants in Germany are now being returned to service, as the GenX model presumes:

The BNetzA, the German network regulator, is currently compiling a priority list that will be used to inform coercive rationing decisions, should that bridge be crossed.

The GenX study is now recorded on wikipedia (and I encourage people to add material there, that page averages 25 views per day):

I look forward to the digging deeper into the GenX study in due course. And will also report in December as to whether my apartment in Berlin has been supplied gas‑fired cogenerated district heating or not!

Robbie

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Robbie Morrison
Address: Schillerstrasse 85, 10627 Berlin, Germany
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Robbie Morrison

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Jul 11, 2022, 6:08:03 AMJul 11
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Open source policy modeling as a form of public engagement in its own right

Hello OpEnModers

As many will know, I have been advocating the use of fully open analysis for public policy formation whenever I can. And the GenX project (see below) represents an excellent example (Anon 2022, Lau et al 2022). I have been looking too at recent efforts at update public engagement practices, including those in the United Kingdom (Chilvers et al 2022). In this context, I thought that model‑mediated public engagement could prove useful. But after reading this passage from John Harris (2022) in The Guardian today:

"The UK's structures of government are based around an antiquated and centralised state, much of which was built during the distant days of empire, and that now barely functions. Swollen Whitehall departments cannot possibly do what ministers and civil servants claim."

I now realize we need more than this — that the GenX contribution constitutes public engagement in its own right. And indeed an example of an entirely new model of public engagement — one that is potentially dynamic, inclusive, and responsive. For instance, if one would like to vary the assumptions, drill‑down into the results, propose other scenarios, or modify the methods used by the originators at Zero Lab, then one is entirely free to do so.

Moreover the demonstrated benefits of open source software development apply in terms of quality, agility, learning, and uptake. And the datasets likewise can be managed as a knowledge commons to wide advantage.

Ideally, a community would form around these analytical efforts — with both appropriate official support and sufficient governance to prevent capture by special interests and ensure quality.

Incumbent NGOs, for instance, have long offered and promoted their own alternative analyses during public consultation. But these efforts are entirely static and rarely are the workings made public.

It also seems odd to me that the European Commission has highlighted a "commons‑based economy" as a key megatrend (Warnke et al 2019:259–261), but the Commission itself steadfastly sticks to 20th century modes of production when undertaking public policy formation. As Harris notes also in relation to the United Kingdom.

So as well as a much needed energiewende, we also need an parallel transition to open and contestable public policy analysis. And Zero Lab have just provided a very nice case‑study in this regard.

The United States is considerably further along this on this journey in general. The new Energy Information Administration head, Joe DeCarolis, is committed to combining open data and open analysis in novel ways for public good (DeCarolis 2022). The United Kingdom, as indicated, is exploring new forms of public engagement within a monitored context (via their new engagement "observatory"). Germany is stuck with its energy policy analysis bound to closed‑door assessments — with clear opportunities for the ministries and science funders to find new ways to incentivize open science, open analysis, and engagement that extends beyond established NGOs. Finally, the European Commission needs to define "information of public interest" and exempt this from their current efforts to build a digital economy based on monetized data.

Again, my appreciation to the Zero Lab at Princeton for this substantial contribution to exploring new ways of policy formation. And to note that there is another example underway, not yet public, looking again at scenarios for Europe that are, in this case, compatible with the 2016 Paris Agreement.

Robbie

References

Anon (8 July 2022). FAQ: European independence from Russian natural gas. Princeton, New Jersey, USA: Zero Lab, Princeton University. doi:10.5281/zenodo.6811675. DOI resolves to latest version. License information from Zenodo landing page.

Chilvers, Jason, Helen Pallet, Tom Hargreaves, Phedeas Stephanides, and Laurie Waller (July 2022). An observatory for public engagement with energy and climate change: a briefing note introducing the UKERC public engagement observatory. London, United Kingdom: UK Energy Research Centre. doi:10.5286/ukerc.edc.000954.

DeCarolis, Joseph F (5 February 2022). Opening Statement — Joseph F. DeCarolis — Nomination Hearing — United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Washington DC, USA: U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Document date from PDF metadata.

Harris, John (10 July 2022). "The lesson from Johnson's tenure: British politics needs dragging into the 21st century". The Guardian. London, United Kingdom. ISSN 0261-3077.

Lau, Michael, Wilson Ricks, Neha Patankar, and Jesse Jenkins (8 July 2022). Pathways to European independence from Russian natural gas — Policy memo. Princeton, New Jersey, USA: Zero Lab, Princeton University. doi:10.5281/zenodo.6811675. DOI resolves to latest version. License information from Zenodo landing page.

Warnke, Philine, Kerstin Cuhls, Ulrich Schmoch, Lea Daniel, Liviu Andreescu, Bianca Dragomir, Radu Gheorghiu, Catalina Baboschi, Adrian Curaj, Marjukka Parkkinen, and Osmo Kuusi (3 December 2019). 100 radical innovation breakthroughs for the future — KI-04-19-053-EN-N. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. ISBN 978-92-79-99139-4. doi:10.2777/24537.


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