Long-term energy planning is the process through which 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 capability and methodology, and scenario use and communication. While many countries have 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 four broad areas of IRENA work in Energy Planning.
Capacity Building for Energy Planning and Modelling:: Based on its near-universal membership and an extensive repository of best practices for planning and modelling with renewable energy, IRENA provides energy planning capacity building and trainings 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 to countries in energy master plan development.
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 a critical tool to support informed government policy decision making, especially in addressing new challenges and opportunities posed by unprecedented energy system transformation. The Network extends the scope of the IRENA-led Clean Energy Ministeral Campaign on Long-term Energy Scenarios (CEM-LTES Campaign).
Addressing Variable Renewables in Long-term Planning (AVRIL): IRENA’s AVRIL project aims to identify the 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 around the large-scale integration of variable renewables into the power grid, and to technical practitioners with a catalogue of practical VRE modelling methodologies for long-term planning.
System Planning Test (SPLAT) Model: IRENA has developed specialised models for long-term energy planning for 47 African countries – the System Planning Test (SPLAT) models. 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 purposes through capacity building activities, while assisting countries to access the best renewable energy data that the Agency can offer.