The impacts of the electricity demand pattern on electricity system cost and the electricity supply mix: A comprehensive modeling analysis for Europe
Journal article, 2021

Energy system models for long-term planning are widely used to explore the future electricity system. Typically, to represent the future electricity demand in these models, historical demand profiles are used directly or scaled up linearly. Although the volume change for the electricity demand is considered, the potential change of the demand pattern is ignored. Meanwhile, the future electricity demand pattern is highly uncertain due to various factors, including climate change, e-mobility, electric heating, and electric cooling. We use a techno-economic cost optimization model to investigate a stylized case and assess the effects on system cost and electricity supply mix of assuming different demand patterns for the models. Our results show that differences in diurnal demand patterns affect the system cost by less than 3%. Similarly, demand profiles with a flat seasonal variation or a winter peak result in only minor changes in system cost, as compared to the present demand profile. Demand profiles with a summer peak may display a system cost increase of up to 8%, whereas the electricity supply mix may differ by a factor of two. A more detailed case study is conducted for Europe and the results are consistent with the findings from the stylized case.

Seasonal variation

Renewable electricity system

Electricity system cost

Electricity supply mix

Electricity demand pattern

Diurnal variation


Xiaoming Kan

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Lina Reichenberg

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Aalto University

Fredrik Hedenus

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory


0360-5442 (ISSN)

Vol. 235 121329

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories

Energy Engineering

Other Environmental Engineering

Energy Systems

Areas of Advance




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8/5/2021 7