Stefan Pfenninger

I am associate professor of energy systems modelling at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management at TU Delft. My research focuses on understanding the technical, economic, environmental, and political trade-offs between different possible ways to build a 100% clean and renewable energy system.

You can reach me by email. Are you a student interested in working with me? See the group page.

Spotlight: Diversity of options to eliminate fossil fuels and reach carbon neutrality across the entire European energy system

The interactive scenario explorer in action.

We show a diversity of untold options to meet all energy demand based on renewable energy, with a complete phase-out of oil and gas imports. The results can be viewed in an interactive scenario explorer. With a marginal increase above optimal cost, the reliance of an energy self-sufficient Europe on specific solutions, like biofuels, battery storage, transmission expansion, or heat electrification, can vary from not being used at all to being key to system stability. → Pickering, Lombardi and Pfenninger (2022), Joule.

Research

My group’s research is on the global transition to a 100% clean and renewable energy system. This includes designing future energy systems that are able to work with high shares of variable renewable electricity. A prerequisite for this is understanding the spatiotemporal variability of renewable generation and demand. But to develop a truly sustainable energy system it is also necessary to consider trade-offs between the energy transition and other concerns such as biodiversity protection.

→ See Research page for more details

Open code and data

In the course of my work I created and lead development of the open-source energy system modelling tool Calliope. I am also the creator and lead developer of the Renewables.ninja platform to simulate wind and solar power plants worldwide. I am a member of the Open Energy Modelling Initiative, which promotes openness and transparency in energy system modelling, and of the Open Power System Data project, which provides a free and open data platform for power system modelling.

→ See Projects page for more details


Recent publications

  • Wind-Solar Technological, Spatial and Temporal Complementarities in Europe: A Portfolio Approach. Javier López Prol, Fernando de Llano Paz, Anxo Calvo-Silvosa, Stefan Pfenninger, Iain Staffell. (2024). Energy. doi: 10.1016/j.energy.2024.130348
  • Identifying Energy Model Fingerprints in Mitigation Scenarios. Mark M. Dekker, Vassilis Daioglou, Robert Pietzcker, Renato Rodrigues, Harmen-Sytze de Boer, Francesco Dalla Longa, Laurent Drouet, Johannes Emmerling, Amir Fattahi, Theofano Fotiou, Panagiotis Fragkos, Oliver Fricko, Ema Gusheva, Mathijs Harmsen, Daniel Huppmann, Maria Kannavou, Volker Krey, Francesco Lombardi, Gunnar Luderer, Stefan Pfenninger, Ioannis Tsiropoulos, Behnam Zakeri, Bob van der Zwaan, Will Usher, Detlef van Vuuren. (2023). Nature Energy. doi: 10.1038/s41560-023-01399-1
  • A Global Model of Hourly Space Heating and Cooling Demand at Multiple Spatial Scales. Iain Staffell, Stefan Pfenninger, Nathan Johnson. (2023). Nature Energy. doi: 10.1038/s41560-023-01341-5

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