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Morten Bæk: CNREC’s research on long-term energy scenarios is a showcase for others

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The successful cooperation between CIFF, CNREC, NREL and DEA on the development of a long term model framework is a showcase for other countries to follow in developing similar, powerful tools.

Denmark has high ambitions for transitioning the energy system to independence of fossil fuels – and our aspirations are widely acknowledged internationally.

The Sino-Danish energy dialogue on replacement of coal and oil with renewable energy is absolutely pivotal for the long term global energy transition – and climate change mitigation. The dialogue has been facilitated diligently by the pioneering work at CNREC, where knowledge has been shared, a model framework for the energy system transition has been developed along with long term renewable energy scenarios and suggestions for ambitious renewable energy targets.

From our continuous dialogue with CNREC, the National Energy Administration (NEA) and other key stakeholders in the Chinese energy sector, we know that the Chinese government is actively pursuing a greener pathway in the future – and working to transition of the energy system through power market reforms.

One of the cornerstones in the Sino-Danish cooperation is the establishment and improvement of a long term model framework enabling the development of different energy system scenarios and analysis of energy policy implications.

Denmark, and the Danish Energy Agency (DEA) in particular, have a long tradition and strong competencies in developing and using energy modeling tools. With a comprehensive model and scenario tool it becomes easier to plan and communicate the development of renewable energy, increase the understanding of effects of different energy and climate policies, and not least to transition the energy system in the most cost-efficient way. Modelling also supports and enables discussions, international talks and negotiations between partners and governments.

CNREC and DEA have since 2012 built-up substantial experience and success with developing a Chinese long term 2050 Renewable Energy Model Framework. The model setup has been a valuable tool for the development of different scenarios for transforming the Chinese energy system in a cost-efficient way. Environmental effects have been integrated into the model, which has been a significant improvement in the documentation of the real cost of energy and the true benefits of the energy transition.

DEA has a dedicated team working specifically with modelling and scenario development, contributing a wide array of model background experience (including programming, energy system integration, operation and energy planning). As part of Danish cooperation with CNREC and NEA, we now work closely with a number of Chinese and international partners, especially the UK based Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

I am pleased that the DEA team is part of the strong cooperation setup with CNREC, CIFF and NREL, supporting CNREC’s model framework development and able to serve as sparring partners in design and production of the forthcoming CNREC publication ‘China Renewable Energy Outlook’, expected to be published mid-2016.

Sino-Danish energy cooperation is the crown jewel in the DEA Energy Partnership Programme covering China, Mexico, South Africa, Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey and Ukraine. We experience that the Sino-Danish experience on long term renewable energy scenario models and the impressive results and prospects for transforming the Chines energy system generate significant interest in other growth economies with significant mitigation potential.

Irrespective of various countries’ unique circumstances, current political landscape, energy history and natural resource situation, such a model setup should be a fundamental and long lasting cornerstone of the energy and climate development in any country. I therefore hope that the fruitful cooperation in China could be extended to a global learning experience on how to successful transform the energy system to a more sustainable, low-carbon system.