Grid and infrastructure
IIn the IMAGE model, grid and infrastructure are not systematically dealt with. Still, the influence of both factors on transitions – and in particular on the rate of transition – plays a role in the model. There are several places where grid and infrastructure are implicitly or explicitly dealt with.
- Access to electricity is described in the residential model. The model looks at access partly as a function of income and associated investments (Van Ruijven et al., 2012). The access to electricity influences the fuel choice in the residential sector.
- In the power sector, investments into grids are described and added to the costs of electricity. Moreover, in the potential for solar and wind power and related costs, the distance between potential supply and load centres is accounted for (Hoogwijk, 2004).
- In the sub-model on hydrogen power, the large-scale availability of hydrogen as an energy carrier is restricted to the presence of infrastructure. Therefore, originally, only small-scale hydrogen options were available. Only when the volume would reach a certain minimum level, large-scale availability is assumed (hydrogen transport via pipelines), resulting in much lower hydrogen production costs – also in combination with Carbon capture and storage.
- For CCS, a regional estimate was made of the distance between the most important storage sites and the produced CO2 levels. Therefore, a region- and storage-specific cost factor is added to the on-site storage costs.
- Finally, infrastructure plays a key role in the potential rate of transition. For instance, in transport, electric vehicles could only be introduced at a rate that is consistent with the expansion of corresponding infrastructure to provide power. In the model, this is only implicitly described by adding an additional delay factor on top of the delay that is explicitly taken into account by the lifetime of the technology itself (in this example the electric vehicle). The additional delay factor simply consists of a smoothing function, affecting the portfolio of investments. For the same reason, this smoothing of change in investments is also used elsewhere in the model.