ABM4EnergyTransition - Agent-based Simulation of Transition Scenarios for regional Heating and Energy Transformation

Project: Research project

Project Details


Our energy system is undergoing rapid change. New technologies and opportunities such as electromobility, digitization, energy communities or low-temperature heating networks are entering the market, which must be reconciled with societal demands for greater sustainability and political commitments such as the Austrian heating strategy with the goal of decarbonizing the heat supply for buildings by 2040. This poses a high level of complexity for decision-makers in politics, energy supply and business. An energy-efficient and climate-friendly heat supply of the future now requires planned action, the modernization of the existing building stock, a sustainable orientation of new buildings, and the conversion of the heating and cooling supply to renewable energy sources. Not only will infrastructure and technology change, but the use of buildings will also be transformed by digitalization, and administrative as well as planning processes must do justice to this system complexity. In addition to the spatial dimension of energy supply and demand, increasing importance must also be attached to the social dimension of the energy transition in planning and decision-making processes. The behaviors and decision-making patterns of central actors (politics, public administration, planners, investors, energy supply companies, population), each with their own specific roles, needs and values, are highly relevant to planning in the context of heat and energy transition, but are, if at all, hardly considered in current processes. This combination and integration will be addressed in the planned project complementing existing (spatial) planning approaches and tools by essential elements. The concrete project objective of ABM4EnergyTransition is the development and demonstration of a novel simulation approach based on agent-based modeling (ABM) for the spatial analysis and assessment of pathways for the municipal heat and energy transition. The ABM methodology considers both spatial data to describe the energy system of a study area (buildings, grid-based energy infrastructure such as natural gas or district heating networks, renewable potentials, population structure) and parameters to describe the behavior of actors (agents) within this energy system (homeowners, investors, policy makers) taking into account demographic and socio-technical parameters such as income and state of education. The methodological approach represents an extension of existing energy planning approaches and helps to better assess the impact of public policies on the achievement of climate and energy goals. The tangible project result will be a prototypical web application with map representation of buildings and energy infrastructure incl. dashboard using two study areas, which allows users from administration and planning to plan possible energy policy and/or technical interventions in the ABM and to display the results (e.g.: Energy and Life Cycle Assessment as well as technology and energy carrier mix in variable spatial and temporal granularity, etc.). The results can be exported for further planning use, e.g. in energy space planning or district heating expansion planning, and in a local GIS system. In addition, simplified simulation scenarios can also be initialized and visualized by interested citizens in the web application for a playful examination of the topic of heat transition and energy system change.
Effective start/end date1/11/2231/10/24


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