PyPSA-Earth. A new global open energy system optimization model demonstrated in Africa

Maximilian Parzen*, Hazem Abdel-Khalek, Ekaterina Fedotova, Matin Mahmood, Martha Maria Frysztacki, Johannes Hampp, Lukas Franken, Leon Schumm, Fabian Neumann, Davide Poli, Aristides Kiprakis, Davide Fioriti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Macro-energy system modelling is used by decision-makers to steer the global energy transition towards an affordable, sustainable and reliable future. Closed-source models are the current standard for most policy and industry decisions. However, open models have proven to be competitive alternatives that promote science, robust technical analysis, collaboration and transparent policy decision-making. Yet, two issues slow the adoption: open models are often designed with particular geographic scope in mind, thus hindering synergies from collaborating, or are based on low spatially resolved data, limiting their use. Here we introduce PyPSA-Earth, an open-source global energy system model with data in high spatial and temporal resolution. It enables large-scale collaboration by providing a tool that can model the world's energy system or any subset of it. The model is suitable for operational as well as combined generation, storage and transmission expansion studies. In this study, the novel power system capabilities of PyPSA-Earth are highlighted and demonstrated. The model provides two main features: (1) customizable data extraction and preparation with global coverage and (2) a PyPSA energy modelling framework integration. The data includes electricity demand, generation and medium to high-voltage networks from open sources, yet additional data can be further integrated. A broad range of clustering and grid meshing strategies help adapt the model to computational and practical needs. Data validation for the entire African continent is performed and the optimization features are tested with a 2060 net-zero planning study for Nigeria. The demonstration shows that the presented developments can build a highly detailed power system model for energy planning studies to support policy and technical decision-making. We anticipate that PyPSA-Earth can represent an open reference model for system planning, and we welcome joining forces to address the challenges of the energy transition together.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121096
JournalApplied Energy
Early online date19 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Macro-energy systems
  • OpenStreetMap
  • Optimization
  • PyPSA meets Earth
  • PyPSA-Africa
  • PyPSA-Earth


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