TIAM-ECN is the TIMES Integrated Assessment Model (TIAM) of the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), used for long-term energy systems and climate policy analysis. The analysis typically consists of multiple scenarios, which are compared and assessed with each other.


What does the model do?

It has a global scope with a world energy system disaggregated in 36 distinct regions. TIAM-ECN is a linear optimisation model, based on energy system cost minimisation with perfect foresight until 2100. It simulates the development of the global energy economy over time from resource extraction to final energy use. The objective function is represented by the discounted total energy system costs summed over all time periods and across all regions. The main cost components aggregated in the objective function are the investment costs and fixed plus variable operation and maintenance costs for various energy supply and demand options, including emission reduction measures. TIAM-ECN is based on a partial equilibrium approach with exogenous demands for energy services. These services, however, can respond to changes in their respective prices through end-use price elasticities. Hence, savings in energy demand and corresponding overall energy system cost variations are accounted for in our model. TIAM-ECN is operated with a comprehensive technology database that contains many possible fuel transformation and energy supply pathways, and encompasses technologies based on fossil, nuclear and renewable energy resources. Both currently applied technologies and future applicable advanced technologies, such as ultra-supercritical fossil-fuelled power plants, hydrogen technologies, a broad variety of renewable energy options, and carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) techniques in power plants and industrial applications, are available in the model’s technology portfolio.


What kind of questions can the model address?

Since TIAM-ECN is an energy system model, it allows for analysing GHG (carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O)) reduction pathways over the entire energy supply chain up to end-use energy demand. Horizontal and vertical interdependencies and substitution effects of energy supply are thereby accounted for. For instance, the use of hydrogen in the transport sector as climate change mitigation measure depends, evidently, on the availability and price of hydrogen (vertical dimension). The nature and deployment scale of hydrogen production technology in industry has a significant impact on the supply costs of hydrogen, notably for the transport sector (horizontal dimension).

Besides this integrated systems approach, TIAM-ECN features details of energy extraction, conversion and demand, such as available fossil and renewable energy resources, potentials for storage of CO2, and region-specific (energy) demand developments. Region- and sector-specific demands for end-use energy and industrial products are driven by socio-economic parameters.


What kind of answers can the model provide?

  • What are the implications of different energy and climate policy measures for the future structure of energy supply and demand?
  • How to mitigate climate change most cost-efficiently and what costs are the associated costs?
  • What are future energy investment needs and how does it change under climate policy?
  • What are the implications of limitations regarding the availability of certain energy technologies?

Typical model outputs/results are:

  • Primary energy consumption
  • Development of upstream fuel transformation (refineries, etc.)
  • Production oil/gas/coal; depletion of fossil fuel resources
  • Energy trade
  • Electricity generation + installed capacities
  • Energy consumption by fuel & sector (incl. alternative fuels)
  • GHG emissions by source
  • CCS deployment
  • Energy investments
Go to top