Opening the black box of energy modelling: Strategies and lessons learned

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article – Annual report year: 2018Researchpeer-review



  • Author: Pfenninger, Stefan

    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland

  • Author: Hirth, Lion

    Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), Germany

  • Author: Schlecht, Ingmar

    University of Basel, Switzerland

  • Author: Schmid, Eva

    Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany

  • Author: Wiese, Frauke

    Systems Analysis, Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark

  • Author: Brown, Tom

    University of Frankfurt, Germany

  • Author: Davis, Chris

    University of Groningen, Netherlands

  • Author: Gidden, Matthew

    International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

  • Author: Heinrichs, Heidi

    Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH

  • Author: Heuberger, Clara

    Imperial College London

  • Author: Hilpert, Simon

    Europa-Universität Flensburg, Germany

  • Author: Krien, Uwe

    Reiner-Lemoine-Institut gGmbH, Germany

  • Author: Matke, Carsten

    German Aerospace Center, Germany

  • Author: Nebel, Arjuna

    Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Germany

  • Author: Morrison, Robbie

    Energy Consultant

  • Author: Müller-Pebody, Berit

    Reiner-Lemoine-Institut gGmbH, Germany

  • Author: Plessmann, Guido

    Reiner-Lemoine-Institut gGmbH, Germany

  • Author: Reeg, Matthias

    German Aerospace Center

  • Author: Richstein, Jörn C.

    German Institute for Economic Research

  • Author: Shivakumar, Abhishek

    KTH - Royal Institute of Technology

  • Author: Staffell, Iain

    Imperial College London

  • Author: Tröndle, Tim

    University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

  • Author: Wingenbach, Clemens

    Europa-Universität Flensburg, Germany

View graph of relations

The global energy system is undergoing a major transition, and in energy planning and decision-making across governments, industry and academia, models play a crucial role. Because of their policy relevance and contested nature, the transparency and open availability of energy models and data are of particular importance. Here we provide a practical how-to guide based on the collective experience of members of the Open Energy Modelling Initiative (Openmod). We discuss key steps to consider when opening code and data, including determining intellectual property ownership, choosing a licence and appropriate modelling languages, distributing code and data, and providing support and building communities. After illustrating these decisions with examples and lessons learned from the community, we conclude that even though individual researchers' choices are important, institutional changes are still also necessary for more openness and transparency in energy research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy Strategy Reviews
Pages (from-to)63-71
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (

CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: No match on DOI

    Research areas

  • Open source, Open data, Energy modelling, cs.CY, cs.GL

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 142223804