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How will Destination Earth help energy systems management?

1 January 2023

ECWMF DestinE Use Case, a DLR bid for energy system operations, starts 

A new ECMWF Use Case for Destination Earth kicked off in January 2023. The contract awarded to the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and its Institute of Networked Energy Systems, seeks to demonstrate the value of DestinE’s enhanced climate and weather models for power system operators seeking accurate, decision-ready data to ensure a reliable, optimised electricity supply to consumers.  

More precise Energy System Models (ESM) can help electricity system operators to plan the optimised and resilient energy systems of the future, especially as the world and Europe in particular is going through a major transition towards renewable sources, therefore being more dependent on accurate weather and climate information. Under these premises, in January 2023 was launched the first of the Use Cases proposed to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) in the frame of Destination Earth (DestinE), the European Union’s initiative to create an innovative digital twin of the Earth system. 

The contracts for the Climate Adaptation and On-demand Extremes Digital Twins also include use cases but this is the first of the specific Use Cases Invitation to Tender issued by ECMWF to have started. 

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) and its Institute of Networked Energy Systems were awarded in November 2022 with one of the Use Case contracts for an innovative proposal to integrate DestinE’s enhanced weather and climate models in the planning and operation of electricity supply systems. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of Aarhus University (AU) and the European Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI) complete the contract team as subcontractors.  

DLR and its partners aim to uplift collaboration between the climate sciences and the energy sector to explore new approaches for data processing, management and computing through open data and open modelling. The proposal seeks to demonstrate how DestinE digital twins’ capabilities will make a significant impact by providing more realistic representations of solar and wind resources at all spatial and temporal scales. 

“This offers great opportunities for vastly improved energy system modelling and opens the door for new innovative approaches for adding the analysis of climate information into standard modelling workflows applied at decision-making level in the energy sector.” said Bruno Schyska Project Manager for DLR’s Institute of Networked Energy Systems. 
Unsplash/ Andrey Metelev

Lifting the existing barriers for adequate energy system models 

The energy systems sector is highly dependent on making the best possible use of meteorological information to elaborate reliable Energy System Models (ESM), both for planning and operation purposes. 

In the context of the ongoing transformation of the energy system and climate change, the energy sector needs the most accurate, but also simplified and standardised climate and meteorological information. This will help grid operation to foresee potential shifts in power generation and distribution, from the continental to the local scale; from the short term, to the longer-term climate evolution.  

ESM are key when it comes to planning investments in infrastructure, for example to decide on grid extension plans.  

However, individual private power system operators often lack knowledge about the extensive meteorological and climate datasets available and how to interpret them, downscaling the data, perform complex bias correction tasks or analysing the models’ uncertainty.  

Most often operators don’t have access to the very large computing resources needed to run high-end and detailed energy system models for longer periods.  

DLR’s key technology contribution 

DLR will use some of its most advanced technology such as its ESM REMix, that will serve to implement the Demonstrator, the example case, showcasing how the energy system modelling community will benefit from DestinE. DLR’s also contributes with its data analysis tool EnDAT, that will be coupled to REMix, and the proposal will benefit from eye2sky, the unique radiation measurement network.   

The Use Case for energy systems proposal aims to better understand the climate data and modelling needs of the energy sector as a whole, as well as providing new tools and methods to integrate the state-of-the-art climate data in the power system operators’ workflows. 

The German Aerospace Center and its partners will use DestinE’s capabilities to integrate climate information in standard user workflows that will benefit energy system modelling by increasing accuracy while reducing the inherent complexity of climate and meteorological information.  

Jason Blackeye/ Unsplash

Destination Earth is a European Union funded initiative launched in 2022, with the aim to build a digital replica of the Earth system by 2030. The initiative will be jointly implemented by three entrusted entities: the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) responsible for the creation of the first two ‘digital twins’ and the ‘Digital Twin Engine’, the European Space Agency (ESA) responsible for building the ‘Core Service Platform’, and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), responsible for the creation of the ‘Data Lake’.

More information about Destination Earth on the EU Commission website