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

  • The Potential Role of Airborne and Floating Wind in the North Sea Region. Hidde Vos, Francesco Lombardi, Rishikesh Joshi, Roland Schmehl, Stefan Pfenninger. (2024). Environmental Research: Energy. doi: 10.1088/2753-3751/ad3fbc
  • Open Code and Data Are Not Enough: Understandability as Design Goal for Energy System Models. Stefan Pfenninger. (2024). Progress in Energy. doi: 10.1088/2516-1083/ad371e
  • Land-Free Bioenergy from Circular Agroecology – A Diverse Option Space and Trade-Offs. Fei Wu, Stefan Pfenninger, Adrian Müller. (2024). Environmental Research Letters. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/ad33d5

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