Tackling complexity and problem formulation in rural electrification through conceptual modelling in system dynamics
Journal article, 2020

Mini-grids are considered important in order to improve access to electricity in developing countries. Their technical and organizational independence from the large national grids and their interactions with local social, economic, and environmental factors suggests that system dynamics is a useful method of analysis. However, the successful implementation of mini-grids in rural electrification has partly been prevented due to complexity issues, making problem formulation difficult. Most problem-solving methods, such as system dynamics, require well-defined problems. Previous work on the problem formulation process in system dynamics is limited. This work presents a conceptual framework for tackling complexity and uncertainties in rural electrification. The conceptual framework is general and draws on research in conceptual modelling and system dynamics. The focus is on the learning that can be achieved from a system description and how it can be used to tackle complexity by reducing uncertainties and improving knowledge.


rural electrification

conceptual modelling

system dynamics

problem formulation


Elias Hartvigsson

Chalmers, Electrical Engineering, Electric Power Engineering

Erik Ahlgren

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Energy Technology

Sverker Molander

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis

Systems Research and Behavioral Science

1092-7026 (ISSN) 1099-1743 (eISSN)

Vol. 37 1 141-153

Subject Categories

Business Administration

Information Science

Computer Science



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