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In recent years, several tools and models have been developed and used for the design and analysis of future national energy systems. Many of these models focus on the integration of various renewable energy resources and the transformation of existing fossil-based energy systems into future sustainable energy systems. The models are diverse and often end up with different results and recommendations. This paper analyses this diversity of models and their implicit or explicit theoretical backgrounds. In particular, two archetypes are defined and compared. On the one hand, the prescriptive investment optimisation or optimal solutions approach. On the other hand the analytical simulation or alternatives assessment approach. Awareness of the dissimilar theoretical assumption behind the models clarifies differences between the models, explains dissimilarities in results, and provides a theoretical and methodological foundation for understanding and interpreting results from the two archetypes.
Keywords: energy system analysis; investment optimisation models; simulations models; modelling theory;renewable energy
Original languageEnglish
Article number840
Issue number7
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2017

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