This topic is started due to a mailing list discussion and because it was also touched by discussions in the openod meeting (berlin 2020 and before).
I sum up some mails here for the start:
Beginning of the threat was the addition of the reached percentage of “carbon free” energy supply versus the reached percentage of supply from “renewable energy technology” (in this case in GB) (which fired a little bit the old RET vs nuclear debate).
Followed by the request to differ it from an environmental perspective, which was understood as a subjective view on it and then followed by request and highlighting of technology openess: (following parts of two mails):
…Though I believe our models must be technology neutral: I confess that I do have a technology favourite. It is energy efficiency. We represent it poorly. And generally are pretty stuck with a fixation on RET, which is more environmentally damaging
…Modelling every technology with a handful of technical parameters (capital cost, fuel cost, O&M, build time, lifetime, ramp rates, start-up costs etc.) does a disservice to the real world. How will this ever capture the complex of “risk, risk perception and social contract issue[s]” around nuclear that Mark describes below?
Which model captured the complex of socio-political considerations that has led to huge reductions in new onshore wind additions in the UK and Germany?
As Mark suggests, the only thing to do is be open and humble about the models and not expect too much from them. And calculate lots of scenarios so that the rest of society is well-informed when it decides what it wants.
(So the argument for technology neutrality is less about wanting to avoid bias, which can easily creep in via the assumptions anyway, but more an acknowledgement that the models don’t capture significant effects outside the techno-economic domain.)