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Open Tools for Systems Science

How can scientific tools, data standards and methods be developed in an open and inclusive way? What drives adoption of open-source scientific tools?

Photo: Fatos Bytyqi on Unsplash

At the centre of our work in the Division of Energy Systems are a suite of Open Science practices, tools and data, together with the knowledge and skills to implement these approaches in research projects. Our globally recognised tools, OSeMOSYS, OnSSET and OnStove are freely available under permissive Open Source licenses. Our tools are used by hundreds of researchers and analysts in academia and governments to help plan energy systems.

Our Open Science approach enables collaboration with countries, governments and researchers on data, tools and methods. This makes our and others work more efficient, as we can all work together to improve and push forward the tools, while focussing on cutting edge research.

OSeMOSYS and OnSSET are easily findable and accessible on the internet. Because anyone can view the source code, these tools “lift the curtain” and increase the transparency of our methods.

  • In Madagascar, OnSSET was used to provide a high-level analysis of least-cost electrification options in the country for the Least-Cost Electricity Access Development Project (LEAD). This project is undertaken by the Republic of Madagascar, supported by the World Bank. The results of the OnSSET analysis forms a starting point for the development of more detailed studies for specific grid extension projects in the country (find more information at here ).
  • In Somalia, KTH worked with the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, the Federal Member States and the private sector to map the existing electricity infrastructure and collect information about existing mini-grids in the country. Then, a geospatial analysis using the OnSSET tool was undertaken to evaluate different pathways towards increased electricity access in the country, and identify priority locations for electrification.
  • KTH worked with the World Bank/ESMAP to develop the Global Electrification Platform (GEP). The GEP is an open-source platform for electricity investment scenarios towards universal access to electricity. 96 scenarios for 58 countries that were developed using the open-source OnSSET tool and open access datasets can be explored on the platform. With the open-source structure of the platform and the tool, the GEP serves as a starting point for more detailed national electrification studies, decreasing the time and costs required for developing such an analysis. The platform can be explored here .

Main research objectives

Our main research objectives relating to Open Science are to:

  • Continue to lead the way in the development and use of open source energy tools and methods and open data
  • Through education, create a legacy of increased capacity together with the tools and methods to continue the work we start
  • Increase the recognition of open tools as a Virtual Laboratory, with the requirement for maintenance and upkeep of these important softwares and models

Methods used

The various dimensions of Open Science are integrated into almost all of our research and educational work. We adopt a range of Open Science practices including version control, computational workflows, open licensing, attribution and referencing. We leverage our exertise in developing and using open source tools to collaborate with partners in over 70 countries, and work with governments, international organisations, such as UN and World Bank and development agencies such as SIDA, FCDO and GIZ.

For more information, check out the collection  of Open Science “good enough practices” we compiled for the Climate Compatible Growth project.


Assessment of the potential for battery storage to provide affordable electricity access through solar PV mini-grids in West Africa

In this project, KTH worked with IRENA to assess the potential value of storage (VoS) for increased access to electricity through PV-based mini-grids in four countries in West Africa; Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal. The Open Source Spatial Electrification Tool (OnSSET) was coupled with a hybrid mini-grid optimization tool to evaluate the least-cost technology (grid/mini-grid/stand-alone) to supply electricity to each settlement in the four countries under different scenarios, and then evaluate the VoS in the settlements where mini-grids were found to provide electricity at the lowest cost.

Capacity building on geospatial electrification analysis for industrializing countries

KTH has been leading trainings on GIS and geospatial electrification modelling at the Summer Schools on Modelling Tools for Sustainable Development and the Energy Modelling Platforms for Africa. Participants include analysts from both the governmental sector, national utilities and academics in industrializing countries, as well as academics from Europe and North America. The participants have been introduced to geospatial electrification modelling in general, and practiced their skills with hands-on training on the Open Source Spatial Electrification Tool (OnSSET).

Capturing emissions in least-cost electrification planning

The World Bank/ESMAPs Global Electrification Platform (GEP) is an online, interactive platform allowing users to examine scenarios towards universal access to electricity by 2030 for 58 countries worldwide. In this project, KTH worked to improve the GEP-OnSSET model on the GEP, to also account for greenhouse gas emissions related to increased access to electricity. Additionally, the effect of a carbon tax on the costs related to increased electricity access was added as an additional lever on the platform.

Geospatial Analysis and Electrification Investment Scenario Preparation for Yemen

Since the start of the civil war in Yemen, many important infrastructures systems have been damaged. Progress towards universal access to electricity in the country has been hampered. In this project, KTH works to deliver a preliminary assessment of electrification options in Yemen to reach universal access to electricity (in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal 7).

Least-cost electrification Pathways for Benin

KTH Royal Institute of Technology partnered with SNV to examine electrification pathways for Benin. The project examines the least-cost technology options to achieve universal electrification in Benin by 2030 under a range of scenarios. It also included a workshop held in Calavi in October 2018. During the workshop 15 people from the public and private energy sector as well as universities were trained on electrification modelling using OnSSET. Further, discussions on data and a meeting with energy sector partners in Benin was held.

Least-cost electrification Pathways for Madagascar

The Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden was invited to participate in the Least-Cost Electricity Access Project for Madagascar together with the World Bank and other local and international partners. In the project, the OnSSET tool was used and customized to examine affordable electrification pathways for Madagascar.

Mwinda Project: Data-driven solutions for people-centered electrification in the DRC

KTH, Resource Matters, University of Cape Town and Reiner Lemoine Institut partnered to develop a least-cost electrification platform for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as part of Resource Matters ongoing commitments in the country. KTH contributes with expertise on, and development of, the Open Source Spatial Electrification Tool (OnSSET), used to examine the least-cost technologies for increased access to electricity in the country.

Preparation of an Indicative Least Cost Geospatial Electrification Plan To Achieve Universal Access In Somalia

KTH, Kartoza and Recon Energy partnered to develop an indicative least-cost geospatial electrification plan to achieve universal access in Somalia. As part of the project, data was collected from local stakeholders, an open-source electrification model based on the OnSSET tool was developed, and an online visualization platform and Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) for geospatial energy-related data were set up. Furthermore, several workshops were held to collect stakeholder inputs, disseminate results and train stakeholder on the model and platform.

Preparation of an Indicative Least Cost Geospatial Electrification Plan to Achieve Universal Access in Benin

The project partners provided an ensemble team with expertise in open-source geospatial application development and training, electrification planning, and in-situ knowledge of the electrification industry in Benin. The result of the collaboration between the project partners, ESMAP and stakeholders and electrification practitioners in Benin is a least-cost electrification model for Benin, an SDI (Spatial Data Infrastructure) and an electrification modelling platform for visualizing the model results. This platform aims to facilitate the critical work taking place to support the meeting of the Sustainable Development Goal 7 which seeks to ensure that access to electricity is ubiquitous.

The Clean Cooking Explorer platform for Nepal

Energy for cooking is considered essential in achieving modern energy access. Despite this, almost 2.4 billion people still lack access to clean cooking, most of them living in rural areas of industrializing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, developing Asia and parts of central- and south-America. In order to mitigate the shortcomings of clean cooking solutions, traditional energy sources tend to be used which can be harmful for the people using them. This project aims at creating a spatial platform for clean cooking for Nepal in order to leverage geospatial data to represent the different resources and characteristics of the region, and support targeted development of clean cooking solutions.

The Global Electrification Platform

The Global Electrification Platform (GEP) is an open access, interactive, online platform that allows for overview of electrification investment scenarios for a selection of countries (58 available as of 2021).

World Energy Outlook 2019

The International Energy Agency launched two publications including geospatial electrification analysis in 2019; the World Energy Outlook and the Africa Energy Outlook. These present comprehensive energy outlooks on both a regional and global level. KTH researchers provided a geospatial electrification analysis for the reports using OnSSET. The analysis includes two scenarios on a regional level for all of sub-Saharan Africa, and also provide a more detailed look on 11 countries; Angola, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.