Grid, pipelines and other infrastructure - IMAGE

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Model Documentation - IMAGE

Corresponding documentation
Model information
Model link
Institution Utrecht University (UU), Netherlands,, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), Netherlands,
Solution concept Partial equilibrium (price elastic demand)
Solution method Simulation
Anticipation Simulation modelling framework, without foresight. However, a simplified version of the energy/climate part of the model (called FAIR) can be run prior to running the framework to obtain data for climate policy simulations.

In the IMAGE model, grid and infrastructure are not systematically dealt with. Still, the influence of both factors on transitions (and in particular the rate of transitions) plays a role in the model. There are several places where grid and infrastructure are implicitly or explicitly dealt with.

  • In the residential model, access to electricity is described. The model looks at access partly as a function of income and associated investments. The method has been described by van Ruijven et al. 1 to look into the question whether access goals can be achieved in the next decades. The access to electricity influences the fuel choice in the residential sector.
  • In the power sector, investments into grid are described and add to the costs of electricity. Moreover, in the potential of solar and wind and related costs the distance between potential supply and load centers is accounted for 2.
  • In the hydrogen submodel, large-scale available of hydrogen as energy carrier is restricted by the presence of infrastructure. Therefore, originally only small-scale hydrogen option are available. Only when the volume gets above a certain minimum level, it is assumed that large-scale options become available (transport of hydrogen via pipes) providing the option of much lower costs hydrogen production also in combination with CCS.
  • For CCS, an estimate is made by region of the distance between the most important storage sites and the production of CO2. Therefore, a region-specific and storage-option specific cost factor is added to the on-site storage costs.
  • Finally, infrastructure plays in reality a key-role in the potential rate of transition: for instance, in transport electric vehicles can only be introduced at a rate that is consistent with the expansion of corresponding infrastructure to provide power. In the model, this is only implicitly described by adding an additional delay factor on top of the delay that is explicitly taken into account by the lifetime of the technology itself (in this example the electric vehicle). The additional delay factor simply consists of a smoothing function affecting the portfolio of investments. For the same reason, this smoothing of change in investments is also used elsewhere in the model.


  1. ^  | |  Bas J. van Ruijven, Jules Schers, Detlef P. van Vuuren (2012). Model-based scenarios for rural electrification in developing countries. Energy, 38 (), 386-397.
  2. ^  | |  Monique Maria Hoogwijk (2004). On the global and regional potential of renewable energy sources. Utrecht, The Netherlands: Utrecht University.PhD thesis.