The main research areas that have been defined for the Sustainable Energy Systems focus area are:

  • Energy Planning including Economics
  • Sustainable Built Environment
  • Smart Energy Networks

Energy Planning including Economics

This research area is build upon energy and environment values and economic domains, at the level of energy systems analysis and design. Part of it is based on providing a modeling framework to support a national effort on Sustainable Energy Systems planning and forecasting by departing from the dynamics of energy demand and incorporating the local and regional renewable energy resources and including cogeneration impact on electricity supply. Some specific models will be applied such as TIMES (The Integrated MARKAL-EFOM System), Integrated supply-demand approaches (e.g. LEAP), EMCAS (electricity market simulation) and Life Cycle Assessment methodologies. Analysis at regional and local scales will also be addressed.

In addition, topics related to reducing greenhouse gases emissions policies in Portugal will also be equated and analyzed, alongside with energy markets and competition. Which approaches will provide the right investment signals for suppliers, and price signals for consumers? Linking hourly market dynamics to multi-year investment trends is essential for Portugal to provide reliable, affordable and clean energy services into the future.

Sub-areas: Energy Planning–National and EU; Energy Planning–Local and Regional; End-Use Energy Demand; Renewable Resources (Multiple); Biofuels; Wave Energy; Emissions Markets; Energy Markets; Corporate Sustainability.

Sustainable Built Environment

This research area is focused on the development of a spatially comprehensive and temporally broad physical accounting of resource consumption of urban centers. Of particular interest are the resource consumption characteristics between cities of distinct characteristics such as geography and topography, economic base and social and demographic composition. A special emphasis will be given to analyze the energy consumption in buildings and to provide new and innovative solutions to promote the concept of “Sustainable Buildings”.

Sub-areas: Sustainable Buildings; Microgeneration; Urban Metabolism; Sustainable Propulsion Systems

Smart Energy Networks

This area involves the topics focused on the new paradigm of the development of electric power systems characterized by large-scale integration of distributed/renewable energy resources and large-scale consumer engagement (e.g. demand efficiency, demand control, microgeneration and interaction through smart metering). Research in this area is focused on active management of distribution grids, dispersed generation (DG), storage and end-users (through responsive loads and consumers) in local and regional areas in order to improve system operating conditions and improve local reliability. This includes the development of new monitoring, control and management hierarchical architectures, as well as it includes market-based implementation for the coordination and control of the different agents and network resources in the real, near, and medium-term time horizons.

Grid operational strategies involving the exploitation of vehicle to grid capabilities are envisaged under the framework of this area. The development of such new operational concepts aims to obtain the best performance from the distributed active resources, abandoning “fit and forget” approach used namely to connect DG units to grids, leading to a more economically and technically efficient power system.

Sub-areas: Smart Grids in Grid Planning and Expansion; Smart Grids and Vehicle Transportation; Smart Energy Demand (the Energy Box)