The OSeMOSYS - OSeMBE model

Short overview

OSeMBE is a fully open source long-term electricity system model of the EU28 plus Norway and Switzerland. The power systems of the 30 countries included are individually modelled and connected by trans-border transmission lines. This allows country specific characteristics and trans-border electricity flows to be considered and their evolution within EU28+2 decarbonisation pathways assessed. The modelled period spans from 2015 to 2050. Each year is divided into five seasons. Each season is constituted by one representative day, which is divided into three parts. Therefore, in total each year consists of fifteen so called ‘time slices’.

Key features of the OSeMOSYS - OSeMBE model

Geographic coverage:

OsEMOSYS is completely Open-Source and allows the user to model the desired Reference Energy System at will. In particular the geographical coverage is depending on the system that is desired to observe, for the particular case of OSeMBE the EU28+CH+NO were modelled as nodes of the system. Every node is characterized by electricity demand, electricity generation technologies and electricity transmission links with neighbouring nodes.

Time resolution and horizon:

OSeMOSYS allows to define the time resolution of the model dividing the year in seasons, the seasons are characterized by says of the season and each day by parts of the day. In OSeMBE each year is divided into five seasons. Each season is constituted by one representative day, which is divided into three parts. Therefore, in total each year consists of fifteen so called ‘time slices’. The observation period is 2015 to 2050.

Technological Characterization:

16 different energy conversion technologies, 17 different energy carriers and 3 energy transfer and distribution infrastructures are modelled in OSeMBE

Climate module & emissions granularity

OSeMOSYS allows to model specific emissions per each technology operation, set emission penalties, annual limits on emissions and limits on emissions for model period.

Emissions can also be “exogenous” meaning not produced by the modelled technologies and be accounted for, in addition to the “endogenous” ones.

Socioeconomic dimensions

The Growth of the energy demand can be modelled according to different economic growth and social related trends evaluated outside the model boundaries

Mitigation/adaptation measures and technologies

The model allows to model all the existing technologies for energy conversion, from fossil fuels to new generation renewables. A switch from one technology to the other can be modelled thanks to emission targets, cost targets or technology use targets. In the same way is possible to evaluate the impact of national and international climate policies on the energy system.

Economic rationale and model solution

The core operating principle of OSeMOSYS is the Power and Energy balance, for every node, at system level and per each timeslice.

The objective of the model is to estimate the lowest net present value (NPV) cost of an energy system to meet given demand(s) for energy or energy services.

Key parameters

Key Scenario assumptions for OSeMOSYS include: Energy Carriers Characterization (Fuels, Electricity, Heat), Energy Conversion Technologies Characterization (Capital Cost, Operative Costs, Efficiency, Emissions, Location, Lifetime) and Energy Demand of the modelled nodes.

Key Scenario results (outputs) consist in the matrix of installed and operating technologies every year to satisfy the energy demand, the costs of the scenario and of each technology and the overall emissions.

Policy questions and SDGs

Key policies that can be addressed

Policies that can be addressed can consist in:

  • Carbon Budget Policies
  • Carbon Pricing Policies
  • Technology Production Minimum or Maximum Policies
  • Technology Phase Out Policies

Implications for other SDGs

OSeMOSYS does not automatically calculate the implications on SDGs of its least-cost energy system to meet prescribed climate or emissions constraints. However, it is possible to use its outputs and calculate the predictions for certain indicators framed in the SDG agenda.

Recent use cases

Paper DOI Paper Title Key findings
10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.121278 Electrification pathways for Tanzania: Implications for the economy and the environment Four scenarios are considered, representative of alternative technological and environmental policies, characterized by different timing to achieve full electrification. Results indicate that while an expansion of the electricity sector can contribute significantly to economic growth, the associated direct and indirect growth in carbon emissions is equally remarkable. Relying on the country’s renewable generation potential would be important but might not be sufficient to lower the economy-wide carbon intensity, particularly under the assumption of reaching full access already in 2030. Targeting energy efficiency and/or decarbonization efforts in the industrial sectors as well as in the provisions of services would also be necessary. The latter is particularly relevant as, per effect of an average income increase, household consumption habits contributes to drive the economy away from its traditional, agricultural base.
10.1016/j.enpol.2019.01.071 Impact of land requirements on electricity system decarbonisation pathways With its globally representative energy mix, the electricity system transition in Alberta, Canada is studied. OSeMOSYS optimizes generation capacity between 2015 and 2060 under various land impact scenarios. The wind and solar dominant reference scenario expands land area impacts tenfold. Under zero-land expansion constraints, costs increase by 11%, wind generation is eliminated, 15% and 55% of electricity is generated by rooftop solar and fossil fuels with carbon sequestration, respectively. Energy policy will need to designate increasing land areas for electricity production, or aid more compact low-carbon technology development.
10.1016/j.apenergy.2019.113820 Decarbonizing China’s energy system – Modeling the transformation of the electricity, transportation, heat, and industrial sectors A detailed provincial resolution allows for the implementation of regional characteristics and disparities within China. Conclusively, we complement the model-based analysis with a quantitative assessment of current barriers for the needed transformation. Results indicate that overall energy system CO2 emissions and in particular coal usage have to be reduced drastically to meet (inter-) national climate targets. Specifically, coal consumption has to decrease by around 60% in 2050 compared to 2015. The current Nationally Determined Contributions proposed by the Chinese government of peaking emissions in 2030 are, therefore, not sufficient to comply with a global CO2 budget in line with the Paris Agreement. Renewable energies, in particular photovoltaics and onshore wind, profit from decreasing costs and can provide a more sustainable and cheaper energy source. Furthermore, increased stakeholder interactions and incentives are needed to mitigate the resistance of local actors against a low-carbon transformation.
Recent publications using the OSeMOSYS - OSeMBE model


Burandt, Thorsten, Bobby Xiong, Konstantin Löffler, and Pao Yu Oei. 2019. “Decarbonizing China’s Energy System – Modeling the Transformation of the Electricity, Transportation, Heat, and Industrial Sectors.” Applied Energy 255(August): 113820.

Palmer-Wilson, Kevin et al. 2019. “Impact of Land Requirements on Electricity System Decarbonisation Pathways.” Energy Policy 129(February): 193–205.

Rocco, Matteo V., Francesco Tonini, Elena M. Fumagalli, and Emanuela Colombo. 2020. “Electrification Pathways for Tanzania: Implications for the Economy and the Environment.” Journal of Cleaner Production 263: 121278.