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INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research


Alternative title: Trans-Atlantic cooperation on energy market models

Awarded: NOK 3.4 mill.

Energy markets around the world are undergoing a rapid transformation in a push for making production and consumption of energy more sustainable. Stakeholders, such as the energy industry, consumers and policymakers, face an uncertain and complex future in light of this development. There are many questions to address, like - How can we design an affordable and reliable energy system based mostly (or solely) on renewable energy sources? - How effective will a given policy be in reducing carbon emissions? - What is the risk of investing in a given technology today? - What will the role of a resource such as natural gas be the over next 20 years? In order to navigate through the complexities of the workings and future development of energy markets, mathematical models based on economic theory, are often used. Developing and using such models is a highly multi-disciplinary effort and require a deep understanding of fields such as mathematics, economy, technology, politics, social sciences. The Trans-Atlantic cooperation on energy market models (TACEMM) project gathered energy market modeling experts from world-class education and research institutions in Norway, Brazil, the US and Germany in a network for research and graduate education addressing energy systems and market design. The TACEMM project organized research schools, compact courses, student and researcher exchange. This established meeting grounds for Master's and PhD students and the leading researchers and lectures within this field. To summarize, the TACEMM project addressed how energy markets should be designed and used in order to both achieve effective resource utilization in the short run, and how to incentivize investments and transition to a sustainable energy system.

The benefit of the TACEMM project is that within the project period we have been able to build stronger ties between the partner organizations. Although we have not achieved formalized institutional agreements, there will be a continued collaboration between academics involved in the project, and there will also be an interest in pursuing new project opportunities together. Equally important, the PhD students who were involved in the TACEMM events have gained unique perspectives and knowledge about the energy market situation in Brazil, the US and Europe, and how to use advanced optimization and equilibrium modeling in their research. This combination is not available in the regular courses lectured at Norwegian universities. This unique competence is invaluable both for the research groups where these PhD students work (and potentially continue to work after completing their degree), and for the energy industry where many are usually recruited. Energy companies who are present in all these countries, like Statkraft and Equinor, can have a significant benefit from working with these students.

The TACEMM project focuses on energy market modeling and energy market design and will bring together world-class education and research institutions from Norway, Brazil, the US and Germany working on these topics. Energy systems and markets in different regions across the world face drastic transformations due to emission reduction, introduction of new energy technologies and changes in the role of consumers. Developing good energy market models based on optimization and equilibrium is crucial in this process, both for the energy industry who needs to efficiently manage their resources and to policy makers, system operators and regulators who are responsible for ensuring the public with a clean, affordable and secure supply of energy. A careful design of energy markets and regulation will play a key role in enabling this. The TACEMM project will establish meeting grounds for Master's and PhD students and the leading researchers and lectures within this field. This will be accomplished by organizing research schools, compact courses, industry/academia workshop, student and researcher exchange, and the development of a joint Master's program between NTNU and The Technical University of Berlin. The country profile of TACEMM has been carefully designed based on common challenges and opportunities within the energy sector between Norway and the partner countries. Both Norway and Brazil are rich on energy resources such as hydropower, natural gas and oil. The role of natural gas in the future energy mix is highly uncertain but this will have a significant impact on countries rich on this resource like Norway, Brazil and the US. As ever increasing shares of intermittent renewables are integrated into our power grids, balancing these resources become a challenge. Few countries have come further in this process than Germany. The work is strongly linked to FME CenSES-Centre for Sustainable Energy Studies and the new NTNU programme on Energy Transition Strategies.

Funding scheme:

INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research