Energy systems

Energy Systems
Energy systems analysis is a focus of IESVic.

An integral part of IESVic research is assessing impacts and viability of energy system structure. A range of model-based methods are used to investigate both short term system operations and long term energy mix evolution of large-scale and isolated electricity grids. These studies address the potential impacts of demand side management and smart grids; renewable energy integration; plug-in electric vehicle integration and; complementary energy carriers, such as electricity, hydrogen and biofuels.

Our energy systems activities encompass the following areas:

System integration

System integration considers the links between energy supplies, system structure, and the services being provided. Research topics include effects of linkages between regions, material flows, and technologies. IESVic collaborates closely with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). More information can be found here

Operation and control

A valuable characteristic of energy systems is flexibility – the capacity to respond and adapt to events. The ability to provide reliable and high quality service is impacted by resource characteristics, demand dynamics, technology attributes, and communication and control systems. The development of smart, distributed, and robust operation and control strategies for demand response is needed, including for microgrids. Smart appliances, network connectivity, and artificial intelligence enable new approaches for optimizing control and energy demand of equipment. Coupled with dynamic pricing information, systems can be customized to deliver service more efficiently for individuals and organizations.


Electricity is one of many energy currencies which can be generated from a broad range of sources. A key basic strategy for decarbonization of our energy systems broadly is to electrify all possible services to displace fossil fuel combustion wherever possible. There is a need for better understanding of how future demands, variable supplies, and markets will shape the evolution of our electrical infrastructure.

Alternative Fuel Vectors

Liquid and gaseous fuels will always be required for applications not suitable for direct electrification. Unlike fossil fuels however, alternative fuels such as hydrogen or a hydrogen carrier like ammonia or methanol must be produced from either renewable generation or a low-carbon feedstock/process. Current research is examining future roles for methane pipelines in fuel transport, as well as production and use of vectors such as ammonia for long duration storage and shipping.

Environmental impact

Environmental impacts occur in different ways. While carbon emissions are one important consideration, we are examining other impacts of energy systems such as land-use, diversion of natural flows such as water, and disruption of ecosystem services and biodiverity loss.