Code exposed: Review of five open-source frameworks for modeling renewable energy systems

Soner Candas*, Christoph Muschner, Stefanie Buchholz, Rasmus Bramstoft, Jonas van Ouwerkerk, Karlo Hainsch, Konstantin Löffler, Stephan Günther, Sarah Berendes, Stefanie Nguyen, Aparna Justin

*Corresponding author for this work

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Energy system modeling is a commonly used method to provide policy recommendations and insight to transformation pathways of energy systems. However, the low open-source availability of the frameworks in practice often leads to low interpretability and transparency of energy modeling system configurations. The configuration of an energy model entails how its system components, such as power plants, storage systems and grids operate, and which parameters are used to define them. In order to understand the impact of different model configurations and working principles on the model output, a thorough comparison between various modeling frameworks is necessary. This work thereby consists of a comparison of five open-source energy system modeling frameworks (OS-ESMFs) oemof, GENeSYS-MOD, Balmorel, urbs and GENESYS-2 on the mathematical level and spotlights selected methodological differences in renewable energy system modeling. The comparison shows diversity in the complexity of selected system components and helps to define the best use-cases and scales of application for each framework. Impacts of modeled features on the results were demonstrated by implementing two harmonized scenarios depicting the German electricity system using each framework. While similar model results were obtained for both scenarios, some differences were present, especially in the long-term expansion planning model. Some of those differences could be traced back to the identified modeling differences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112272
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action of Germany (BMWK) [project open_MODEX, grant number 03ET4076] . All figures and tables used in this manuscript were created by the authors themselves and are subject to the CC-BY 4.0 licence unless otherwise declared. You are free to share and adapt the figures and tables. The authors thank Dirk-Uwe Sauer, Christian Bußar, Berit Müller, Olaf Hohmeyer, Pao-Yu Oei and Philipp Kuhn for contributing to the project conceptualization and funding acquisition. The authors thank Peter Wallmüller for proofreading the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors


  • Energy system modeling
  • Energy transition
  • Model comparison
  • Open-source frameworks
  • Renewable energy
  • Sector-coupling


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