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 and the specific information for MSc students.

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.


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 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

  • 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
  • Challenges and Opportunities for Bioenergy in Europe: National Deployment, Policy Support, and Possible Future Roles. Fei Wu and Stefan Pfenninger. (2023). Bioresource Technology Reports. doi: 10.1016/j.biteb.2023.101430
  • What Is Redundant and What Is Not? Computational Trade-Offs in Modelling to Generate Alternatives for Energy Infrastructure Deployment. Francesco Lombardi, Bryn Pickering, Stefan Pfenninger. (2023). Applied Energy. doi: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2023.121002

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