Assessing the prospects for renewable energy (RE)-enabling technologies

Client Organization: 
IRENA
Project Location : 
Bonn, Germany
Summary of Project Idea: 

Goals & Objectives:

This project will review and establish the market outlook (i.e. the policy and regulatory environment, and the economic case) for a technology that enables more efficient and/or expansive renewable energy integration – e.g. battery storage, electric vehicles, microgrids, supergrids, smart meters, etc. General investigation of batteries – comparing and contrasting different country contexts and experiences – could be the best choice. Ideally, in addition to a market outlook for the chosen enabling technology, the project could also produce a collection of on-the-ground case studies, on the latest innovations in technology and business models implemented by countries, which are fostering the markets for different type of batteries; e,g, li-ion, advanced lead acid, flow batteries, etc. These case studies can be presented in a standardized template.

Theoretical Justification, Social Benefit, or Significance:

The large-scale integration of renewable energy technology into power systems may require the construction or expansion of innovative ‘enabling technologies’ such as battery storage, micro/supergrids, etc. Currently, the institutional, technological, and economic outlook for these technologies is highly incoherent, not only between but within markets (e.g. the existence of many different sources of revenue streams for battery storage, based on technology and policy context).

It is important to understand, and document case studies of, the latest innovations for battery markets, in order to assess how these innovations can be scaled up and replicated in many countries to enable VRE integration.

Creating an assessment framework to understand the institutional, technological, and economic factors important to such technologies – and performing a market outlook for such factors - can allow for a more transparent and supportive policy and investment environment.

Specific Activities & Duration:

Depending on geographic scope of the project (to be defined with the team), possible analyses include:

Identifying the relevant institutional, technological, and economic factors for the renewable-enabling technology

Providing an overview of the current outlook for those factors in one or more contexts

Establishing an assessment framework to establish the cost-effective deployment potential of renewable-enabling technology in a national context

Potentially work with single country/market as a case study

Other goals that could be pursued under an ambitious scenario:

High-level cost estimation of transition

Modelling the system dynamics of how renewable-enabling technologies can create feedback effects that foster greater adoption of VRE

Integrative Approach

Project would require interdisciplinary approach involving techno-economic and policy analysis (potentially information systems if geographical assessment is included).

SEAS Program Areas: 
Environmental Policy and Planning
Environmental Informatics
Sustainable Systems
SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Jose Alfaro
Master Students Involved in Project: 

Ansha Zaman

Project Status: 
Past Project