The Open Energy Modelling (openmod) Initiative promotes open energy modelling across the world.Energy models are widely used for policy advice and research. They serve to help answer questions on energy policy, decarbonization, and transitions towards renewable energy sources. Currently, most energy models are black boxes – even to fellow researchers.
“Open” refers to model source code that can be studied, changed and improved as well as freely available energy system data.
We believe that more openness in energy modelling increases transparency and credibility, reduces wasteful double-work and improves overall quality. This allows the community to advance the research frontier and gain the highest benefit from energy modelling for society.
We, energy modelers from various institutions, want to promote the idea and practice of open energy modelling among fellow modelers, research institutions, funding bodies, and recipients of our work.
Not only the number but also the complexity of energy system models has increased in recent years. This was driven by ongoing research and the development of better software and hardware, which enables faster computation speed. Such energy models serve as laboratories for future energy systems and are necessary for research, prognoses and optimization.
With increasing shares of intermittent renewables and other innovative technologies the demand for insights provided by energy system models will increase. Even though there exists, for example, a wealth of models of the German and European electricity system, many modelling challenges persist.
Developing and advancing an energy system model is a very lengthy and time-consuming process. Especially data research and pre-processing dissipates significant resources.
Required input data as well as code overlap to a large extent for the models of different research groups. Nevertheless, almost all of them conduct data collection and source coding in parallel isolation. Most of the data and code is proprietary and can neither be scrutinized nor used and improved by the scientific community.
Our idea is to open the whole energy modelling process by utilizing open data and open source code. We want to share our modelling work for the sake of efficiency and quality. Fulfilling scientific standards of transparency and reproducibility leads to higher quality and credibility. Furthermore, extensive collaboration allows energy system researchers to focus on answering the essential questions instead of just developing the tool.
In the context of energy modelling, “open” means for us that data and code are published and shared. Using open software licenses (open source and copyleft licenses) is an important element.
Open energy modelling does not mean to immediately release your work into the world, not knowing what happens with it!
There exists an abundance of different licenses to exactly define what the published or distributed data or code can be utilized for. Copyleft licenses use the copyright to keep models open.
No matter to what extent a model is open at the moment, the aim is to continue from now on in the direction of improving by opening up.