General Energy Systems Studies

The research programme General Energy Systems Studies has a long history where focus has primarily been characterised by research efforts which have attempted to explain how the energy system works and how it impacts on and is affected by people, technology, economics and the environment.

SEK 37.5 million for general energy systems studies

The Energy Agency has decided that a total of SEK 37.5 million will be provided for 12 projects which come under the programme "General Energy Systems Studies". The purpose of the GESS programme is to develop a system and a holistic way of thinking for the conversion of the energy system. In addition, the programme will also manage and further develop the tradition of energy system research which the programme has built up. The project covers many aspects of energy systems research. The allocation of funds has a large geographic spread with several new research environments for the GESS programme. It is particularly gratifying that 40% of the projects which have been given the go-ahead will be carried out by female project leaders.

The General Energy Systems Studies Programme

The Energy Agency's objective with the GESS programme is to develop a system and a holistic way of thinking for the conversion of the energy system. The purpose of the programme will also be to manage and further develop the tradition of energy systems research which the programme has built up.

The objective of the programme is to:

  1. Produce scientific documentation for an appropriate energy policy which better integrates energy issues in societal development
  2. Develop already active energy systems research environments and contribute to the development of new and powerful research environments that can carry out research on the energy system
  3. Contribute to the development of an international contact net for Swedish energy systems researchers, the purpose being, to strengthen Sweden's role in the European and Nordic energy policy
  4. Develop methods and models for energy systems analysis such as the evaluation of technology and the commercialisation of energy and environmental technologies
  5. Synthesise and communicate Swedish and international energy systems research

The programme General Energy Systems Studies will focus on two main areas:

  1. Research on energy policy and energy-policy control instruments, especially the cost-efficiency and appropriateness of the control instruments. Through the deregulation of the energy markets and the introduction of market-based control instruments, the need for research and the development of know-how regarding energy-policy control instruments has increased. This applies in particular to highlighting the consequences of control instruments in order to seek to create an understanding of the control instruments' all-round affects.
  2. Research on the energy markets and the operators on the energy markets, and the changes in technology. Through the internationalisation of the energy markets and the endeavours made to provide for an internal market for energy within the EU, there is a need for increased knowledge of the energy companies' behaviour on the energy markets. Through the deregulation of the energy markets and the ever increasing opportunities for companies and individual consumers to choose among the energy suppliers, there is a need to study how and why consumers act or do not act on the deregulated energy markets. Through an increased focus on energy efficiency within all user sectors, the need arises for updated and new knowledge about the industry's and the individual consumers' attitudes to and ability to absorb knowledge about energy efficiency measures. Through an increased focus on security issues for the supply of energy for Europe, but also for Sweden, research carried out on the security of supply from a global context should also be given priority. New (energy and other) technology and changes in technology, for example the introduction of information technology, can also be starting points for studies about the energy system. Consequences (organisational, social, etc.) of technological changes are important to highlight.

Research can also be focused on the following areas and perspectives:

The development of methods and a model for energy systems analysis and images of the future

There are a number of energy systems models that have already been developed. Some models may merit further developed, while the development of models and analytical tools which do not overvalue the rationality of the operators on the market are also of interest. The development of methods is required for technological evaluation, for the development of work methods for the commercialisation of energy technologies. This also applies to the development of indicators for the follow-up of the government's investments in energy research, development and demonstration.

System-critical research and comparative studies

Supply issues and the established operators' perspective have often been in focus for energy systems research. The programme will also prepare the way for system-critical research, and research which takes less-established industries' questions seriously. This also means a call for alternative perspectives and alternative areas of scientific research (disciplines/subjects), that can become interested in the energy area. Against this background of internationalisation and the ever increasing influence the EU has on Sweden and other international agreements, it is important that Swedish energy policy and the Swedish energy system is highlighted through comparative studies, both between countries, but also between sectors.

Gender and a generation perspective

The Energy Agency has also been given the assignment to increase its awareness on women's and men's use of energy. A minor area of focus on the use of energy will also therefore be gender and the generation perspective.