The main objective of the Spine project is to develop and validate an end-to-end energy modelling toolbox that will enable open, practical, flexible and realistic planning of future European energy grids. The Toolbox will be modular and adaptable, making the toolbox suitable for both detailed modelling of complex features in energy systems as well as for large-scale problems. This is a novel approach to energy system modelling, which allows addressing a much broader set of problems within a single modelling tool. The Spine project consists of seven interrelated work packages, and it has the following specific objectives:

1) Develop tools and methods for documented and replicable data acquisition (WP4)

2) Develop a highly adaptable energy system optimization model (WP3)

3) Develop a method to generate and manage a large number of scenarios (WP2)

4) Develop an adaptable interface for external models and tools (WP2)

5) Develop an interface for the parallelization of optimization tasks (WP2)

6) Improve, validate and deploy the Spine Toolbox together with the industry in 13 case studies (WP5 and WP6)

7) Initiate, grow and support a user community for the deployment and future development (WP7)

Methodology and innovation potential

The Spine Toolbox provides a skeleton where tools and models can be put together in any way the user wants to. The clear-cut modularity of the tools and models within the Spine Toolbox unleashes innovation potential, as it will be possible to develop new functionality without understanding the detailed implementation of all the parts in the toolbox. This allows, for example, a large energy consumer to include a detailed model of their process within the larger energy system and seek to optimize its processes for cost-effective flexibility. Thus, Spine Toolbox can be used to test new concepts and it can lead to new products, services and business models. Spine project will execute 13 case studies that help to develop and verify the capabilities of the Spine Model as well as provide insights into the dynamics of integrating different energy sectors. Finally, Spine project will engage with the wider modelling community and as an open source project invite others to use and contribute to the tools under development. The intent is to keep using and improving the tools also after the EU funded project is finished.

An energy system model that adequately captures variability and uncertainty in integrated energy systems can have a profound impact on energy technology innovation. It is not yet known what the best flexibility solutions are and how to best utilize at times inexpensive electricity. New concepts in energy generation, storage, transmission and energy use can be developed and tested much more realistically when a reasonable energy system model is available for concept development. In addition, Spine allows less experienced modellers to utilize the toolbox – for example a new energy carrier can be added by providing only the data needed to model the new carrier.

Project overview

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