At the Energy Policy and Modelling Group we use cutting edge numerical models to provide evidence based assistance for short term and long term energy and climate policy decisons. 

UCC has been engaged in energy policy and energy modelling research for over 15 years. The results of this research have been published in journal papers, conference proceedings and reports. In addition, the research has directly informed the development of national energy policy. 

There are a number of key strands to this work as follows: 

Contact Dr. Brian Ó Gallachóir, Principal Investigator, Energy Policy and Modelling Research, Environmental Research Institute, University College Cork. Tel +353 21 490 3037; e-mail

 Current work is summarised in the Prezi presentation below.

This research involves building a TIMES energy systems model (using linear programming with partial and dynamic equilibrium) for Ireland, a tool developed through the International Energy Agency and used in 70 countries to build long term future energy scenarios. This research compares competing future energy system pathways for the period out to 2050 optimising the full energy system cost over the entire time horizon.

Since it covers the entire energy system and is an optimisation model it can inform medium to long term policy choices for renewable energy, energy efficiency and emissions reduction in a unique manner. There are four PhD students (Alessandro Chiodi, Declan Doyle, JamesGlynn and Maurizio Gargiulo) working with the Irish TIMES model. ESRI is a partner in this project projecting the drivers for energy demand to 2050 and developing elastic demand. Teagasc and UCD are also partners in Phase 2, which extends the analysis to include agriculture. Funding 2009 – 2013 EPA / SEAI / IRCSET ~ €1m. This work involves close collaboration within the IEA Energy Technology Systems Applications Programme.

This research focuses on using an engineering approach to model future energy use with emphasis on the short term i.e. 1990 – 2020. It addresses significant gaps in energy research not only inIrelandbut within the EU and globally. This research complements existing top-down work using macro-economics but provides a more disaggregated picture of energy use that is necessary for assessing the implications of policies and measures that involve technological change, such as building regulations (affecting the asset rating of building energy performance), changes in car tax (affecting car purchasing choices based on energy efficiency). We have developed car stock models, an archetype building model (ArDEM) and built a LEAP (Long range Energy Alternatives Planning system) model for Ireland. More details on these specific model is located in the Models section of the main page. There is particular emphasis in this research strand on the residential sector (gas and total energy demand), and transport energy (private car, aviation and freight transport). 

This is an emerging area of research responding to the requirements of specific EU and Irish energy policy decisions. The modelling tools used are Index methods (including log mean divisia and ODEX) and the electricity market dispatch modelling tool (using PLEXOS). This research builds on previous work investigating the (technical and non-technical) barriers to meeting renewable energy targets in Ireland and on the analysis of energy trends in Ireland that is carried out in conjunction with SEAI – EPSSU.

UCC’s energy modelling expertise is also recognized nationally and internationally through staff being invited to provide key input to energy policy initiatives, including 

  • Representing Ireland on International Energy Agency (IEA) executive committee on energy systems modelling and the EU DG TREN Energy Economic Analysts Working Group. 
  • Membership of Irish Energy Research Council, the Technical Analysis Steering Group of the Cabinet Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security, the RIA Climate Change Committee, (and previously) Forfás Working Group on Socio-Economic Scenarios, Renewable Energy Development Group Short Term Action Group, Ministerial Renewable Energy Strategy Group, 
  • Providing strategic advice to Sustainable Energy Ireland’s Energy Policy Statistical Support Unit and to Sustainable Energy Ireland’s Energy Modelling Group
  • Providing evidence to the Oireachtas Joint Committees on Climate Change and Energy Security and Communications, Marine and Natural Resources.

UCC’s current energy modelling research activity is directly linked to assisting Ireland in setting and delivering on national energy policy priorities. This research seeks to answer key questions, develop greater understanding and build a complementary engineering approach to existing national capacity in macro-economic modelling research. The goal is to provide a research evidence base to underpin decisions on future policy making. 


UCC’s energy modelling research activity is built on strong collaboration with other academic institutions, industry and Government Agencies. It is also developing the capacity and skills for energy modelling in Ireland.

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