Developer and user perspective on energy system models in new article from BeWhere project

The project BeWhere - Stake-holder analysis of biofuel production in Sweden will soon be finished. It is the third of a series of projects that has focused on different aspects of optimal localisation of biofuel production in Sweden, and is carried out within the f3 and Swedish Energy Agency collaborative research program Renewable transportation fuels and systems (Förnybara drivmedel och system). A scientific article in Sustainability is the first output from the project.

In the study, different stake-holders have been interviewed, representing potential users of the BeWhere model or the model results. The focus has been on how energy system models generally, and the BeWhere model particularly, could be used to illustrate barriers and drivers for forest-based biofuel production. While the interviews revealed some general scepticism regarding models, and what kinds of questions they can answer, the belief was also expressed that increased complexity might be an advantage in terms of being able to accommodate more barriers against forest biofuels. The study illustrates the complexity of this policy area, where an energy system model can answer some, but never all, ‘what if…?’ questions. The results reveal a need for reformation in energy system modelling in order to more explicitly make society the subject of the work, and also illustrate that the belief in expertise as a tool for consensus-building in decision-making should be questioned.

Access the article (open access) here.