An Exploratory Analysis of the Dutch Electricity System in Transition

TitleAn Exploratory Analysis of the Dutch Electricity System in Transition
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsKwakkel J, Yücel G
JournalJournal of the Knowledge Economy
KeywordsElectricity supply, Exploratory model, Transitions

Recent contextual developments constitute a backdrop of change for the Dutch electricity system. Institutional change driven by liberalization, changing economic competitiveness of the dominant fuels, new technologies, and changing end-user preferences regarding electricity supply are some exam- ples of these developments. This paper explores plausible transition trajectories in the face of these developments given technological uncertainty about invest- ment and operating costs, and fuel efficiency of various alternative technolo- gies; political uncertainty about future CO2 abatement policies such as emission trading; and socio-economic uncertainty about fuel prices, investment decisions of suppliers, and load curves. Various alternative developments for these uncertainties are specified. The consequences of each of these alternative developments are assessed using an agent-based model of the Dutch electricity system. The outputs are analyzed using various data-mining and data visualization techniques in order to reveal arch-typical transition trajectories and their conditions for occurring. Policy recommendations are derived from this. The results indicate that most transition trajectories point towards a future energy supply system that is reliant on clean coal and gas. Under the explored uncertainties, only rarely a transition to renewables occurs. The various sustainable energy support programs appear to be ineffective in steering the energy supply system towards a more sustainable mode of functioning across the various uncertainties.