Energy supply faces many challenges in both the short and long term worldwide. The main components of these challenges are tackling climate change and achieving sustainability. Both components are closely linked to energy, which is why the European Union has set a target to decarbonise this system under the European Green Deal, which means that countries' electricity systems should have net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
To achieve the decarbonisation targets, the electricity systems of all European countries will have to undergo major changes, in terms of technical, environmental, economic and social targets. The path to achieving the targets is further complicated by the recent Russian-Ukrainian war, which has led to rising energy prices and a target for European countries to reduce their dependence on Russian fossil energy imports. Taking these factors into account, it can be stated that the most important task for the European electricity system is to replace fossil fuels, reduce Russian fossil energy imports and keep prices at affordable levels.
Renewable energy sources, nuclear power, system-level electricity storage and hydrogen could play a major role in this task, according to the analyses carried out so far. However, these technologies are either still in the demonstration phase (grid scale electricity storage, hydrogen) or little data is available on their system level integration, so a detailed technical, economic and environmental analysis is crucial.
In recent years, the BME Institute of Nuclear Engineering has developed detailed energy system models to analyse the possible future of the Hungarian and European electricity systems, considering different energy policy scenarios and different power plant portfolios. The calculations were performed using different energy scenario analysis codes from the International Atomic Energy Agency. However, the limitations of these codes have been recognised in the course of these studies and recently the Institute has started to use the Energy Exampler code PLEXOS for the power system modelling exercises. The aim of the PhD research is to model accurately future energy scenarios and optimize them for Hungary and Europe, based on advanced models like PLEXOS.
The PhD candidate would perform the following tasks:
- Conduct a critical analysis of the energy policy plans of EU member states
- Analyze possible scenarios of the phase-out of fossil energy sources
- Examine the cooperation of renewable energy sources and nuclear power plants in the electricity system using high-resolution models
- Analyze the expected technical and market impacts of the green transition and electrification
- Examine and evaluate the issues of integrating different types of nuclear power plants – large Generation 3+ units and small modular reactors (SMRs) – into the system
- Analyze the expected impact of the development of energy storage (e.g. batteries, hydrogen, pumped storage hydro) on electricity markets
- Develop scenarios how the European electricity system can achieve net zero carbon emission by 2050.