Long-term energy planning is the process whereby national or regional targets, policies and investment strategies are derived from quantitative analysis of energy sector scenarios, often aided by the modelling of energy systems. Such planning is a central component of energy policy-making processes around the world, guiding decisions on when, where and how to invest in the energy sector.
The long-term energy planning process encompasses a number of elements, including – but not limited to – institutional arrangements, modelling capabilities and methodologies, and scenario use and communication. While many countries employ well-established approaches in these areas, the energy transition is creating a need to re-assess many aspects of planning methodology.
IRENA provides support to Member Countries interested in improving their long-term energy planning, with a focus on renewable energy.
Below are the four broad focus areas of IRENA’s energy planning work.
Capacity building for energy planning and modelling: based on its near-universal membership and extensive repository of best practices for renewable energy planning and modelling, IRENA provides energy planning capacity-building and training at regional and country level around the world. This includes a wide range of on-the-ground activities, such as regional training workshops and support for countries in developing national energy master plans. An Energy Planning Brochure presents the detailed features of IRENA's energy planning support services and captures the highlights of recent support programmes delivered in Africa.
Long-term Energy Scenario (LTES) development, use and capacity building: IRENA’s LTES network seeks to broaden the understanding and use of energy planning scenarios as critical tools to support informed government policy making, and in addressing new challenges and opportunities posed by unprecedented energy system transformation. The network extends the scope of the IRENA-led Clean Energy Ministerial Campaign on Long-term Energy Scenarios (CEM-LTES campaign).
Addressing Variable Renewables in Long-term Planning (AVRIL): IRENA’s AVRIL project aims to identify best practices to represent high shares of variable renewable energy (VRE) in long-term planning and modelling. Through the Planning for the renewable future report series and regional workshops, IRENA offers guidance to energy decision makers and planners by providing an overview of key long-term issues related to the large-scale integration of variable renewables into the power grid. It also offers support to technical practitioners through a catalogue of practical VRE modelling methodologies for long-term planning.
System Planning Test (SPLAT) Model: IRENA’s series of analytical work on African power sector development and renewable deployment potential has been prepared using the IRENA’s in-house long-term power system investment planning tools for 47 countries. The System Planning Test (SPLAT) models provide a least-cost optimisation framework for energy supply. IRENA is best placed to support countries in the independent application of the SPLAT models for energy planning through capacity building activities, while assisting countries to access the best renewable energy data the Agency has to offer.