ElectTrans-NL Model

ElectTrans is an agent-based model, which is developed on Eclipse, an open-source integrated development environment (IDE), using Repast J agent modelling toolkit. An instance of the model is composed of three main components; the model code, parameter file and the scenario file. The model code depicts the actions of the actors, relations between system elements, and general developments in the system. In other words, it depicts the structure of the model. The parameter file is a conventional MS Excel file, which contains the initial values of the model parameters that are needed to create an instance of the model. The scenario file, as the name implies, includes parameter values, and exogenous time-series data that characterize the scenario context of a simulation.

It its base version ElectTrans covers 16 alternative electricity power sources (2 grid-based, and 14 distributed) for the end-users, and 26 alternative electricity generation options that can be used by electricity generation companies to feed the central grid. These technologies can be seen in the parameter files of the base version, which is given in one of the following sections. On the demand-side four types of actors are defined in ElectTrans; industrial users, agricultural users, commercial users, and residential users. The supply-side is represented by agents corresponding to the electricity generation companies.

Although these are the figures related to the base version of the model, which is discussed in my dissertation or related articles, neither number of actor types, nor the number of technologies is hard-coded in ElectTrans. ElectTrans is designed to offer a highly flexible model structure. In that respect, by simply making related changes in the parameter file, the technology coverage of the model can be extended (e.g. to cover 50 technologies). Or, the actor types to be included in the model, as well as the number of agents from each type can be defined on the parameter file. In short, shifting ElectTrans from a very aggregate model (e.g. one supply-side generator, one aggregate end-user) to a very disaggregated model (e.g. 10s of generation companies, 1000s of end-users) can be done just by adding some extra data to parameter file, without any need for changing the model code. This flexibility allows the analyst to shift between different versions of the model quite easily and fast.

Analyzing Transition Dynamics: Actor-Option Framework for Modelling Transitions
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