Modelling the Transition towards a Carbon-Neutral Electricity System—Investment Decisions and Heterogeneity
Journal article, 2022

To achieve the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector must be substantially reduced. We develop an agent-based model of the electricity system with heterogeneous agents who invest in power generating capacity under uncertainty. The heterogeneity is characterised by the hurdle rates the agents employ (to manage risk) and by their expectations of the future carbon prices. We analyse the impact of the heterogeneity on the transition to a low carbon electricity system. Results show that under an increasing CO2 tax scenario, the agents start investing heavily in wind, followed by nuclear and to some extent in natural gas fired power plants both with and without carbon capture and storage as well as biogas fired power plants. However, the degree to which different technologies are used depend strongly on the carbon tax expectations and the hurdle rate employed by the agents. Comparing to the case with homogeneous agents, the introduction of heterogeneity among the agents leads to a faster CO2 reduction. We also estimate the so called “cannibalisation effect” for wind and find that the absolute value of wind does not drop in response to higher deployment levels, but the relative value does decline.

agent-based modelling

heterogeneous agents

value factor of wind

low carbon electricity system

investment decisions


Jinxi Yang

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory, Physical Resource Theory 2

Christian Azar

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Kristian Lindgren

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory


1996-1073 (ISSN)

Vol. 15 1 84

Energy Systems in Transition (ENSYSTRA)

European Commission (EC) (EC/H2020/765515), 2017-10-01 -- 2021-09-30.

Subject Categories

Energy Systems



More information

Latest update

3/7/2022 9