News

ΔE+ Act as Trainers for Joint Summer School on Modelling Tools for Sustainable Development

June 09, 2021

ΔE+ group members Dr. Taco Niet, Dr. Nastaran Arianpoo, Kamaria Kuling, Sina Motalebi, Tewodros Walle Mekonnen, and Trevor Barnes participated as trainers in the Joint Summer School on Modelling Tools for Sustainable Development in June.  The summer school is supported by the numerous international organizations and supports participants from countries around the globe to build capacity in modelling for low carbon pathways to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. The summer school is a three-week intensive course where participants from developing nations learn the fundamentals of energy planning models. Deliverables from the school include a functional model, a policy note, and a presentation of their findings.

As trainers, the ΔE+ group supported participants working through the OSeMOSYS and CLEWs training tracks. This included discussing the fundamentals of the modelling frameworks, working through common troubleshooting techniques with the participants to solve modelling errors, and guiding the development of scenarios. The summer school was a huge success, and we look forward to participating in similar events in the future!

Dr. Nastaran Arianpoo a featured panelist for "The Science of Climate Justice" session

April 20, 2021

Dr. Nastaran Arianpoo was invited by Kiran Niet, an 18 year old climate activist and organizer with Sustainabiliteens, to be a panelist, along with Dr. Rachel White of UBC's Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, to discuss the Science of Climate Justice.  After brief presentations of how they saw their work intersecting with climate justice, Kiran facilitated a structured discussion before openning up the floor to questions.  See the entire session by clicking on the video player above.

ΔE+ releases review of integrated modeling

March 17, 2021

Dr. Taco Niet and co-authors Nastaran Arianpoo, Kamaria Kuling and Dr. Andrew S. Wright, released a SSHRC funded public report on best practices and evaluation of integrated modelling for sustainable development.

As the complexity of the energy system increases there are more interactions between different systems.  For example, although the climate impact of our energy system has been well studied, the land use, water use and other systems interactions of the energy system are less well studied, and no standards or frameworks for evaluating such integrated models exist.  Using a literature review of existing Nexus modelling approaches, and a series of expert elicitation focus groups, key pieces to effective and transparent modelling were identified.  The report highlights the importance of avoiding black box models and following best practices for clarity and transparency including open source code, data and documentation.  The importance of stakeholder debate, citizen assemblies and other processes for accounting for intangible aspects of systems such as biodiversity and cultural security are also highlighted.

Full report

ΔE+ releases modelling results on the ability of Power to Gas technologies to contribute to grid flexibility

March 19, 2021

Sina Motalebi, along with co-authors Trevor Barnes, Sammy Kaspar, Dr. Andrew S. Wright and Dr. Taco Niet released an Energy Modelling Initiative funded public report on the ability of hydrogen and power to gas (P2G) technologies to provide flexibility to the Canadian electricity system.

As the transition to low carbon energy sources accelerates there is renewed interest in using hydrogen to capture and store variable renewable energy for future use.  Using an electricity system model of Canada, the team considered the potential of P2G technologies to contribute to flexibility services in the Canadian system.  Although there were some situations where P2G was deployed, especially in later years, the flexibility of existing hydro generation assets had a large influence on the need for/deployment of P2G.  Policymakers need to carefully consider the value that legacy hydro generation facilities provide to the electricity system when making future policy decisions to ensure that society benefits from this flexibility.

Full report

ΔE+: releases results from the BC Nexus model representing Climate, Land, Energy and Water systems (CLEWs) trade-offs for BC policy options

March 19, 2021

Dr. Nastaran Arianpoo, along with co-authors Felipe P. Singh, Dr. Andrew S. Wright and Dr. Taco Niet released an Energy Modelling Initiative funded public report on the inter-sectoral implications of current BC energy policies.

The BC Government has acknowledged the challenges that Climate Change poses and has committed to investments and policies to address continuing carbon emissions in the province.  However, to date, no modelling studies have considered the impacts of these policies on the water and land systems in BC.  The BC Nexus model developed for this report begins to address this gap by providing insights into how interactions between the climate, land, energy and water systems (CLEWs) will pan out in a changing climate.

Full report

Dr. Taco "Extra Guacamole" Niet wins a coveted Gnome-it-All Award at the SFU Faculty Smackdown Debate 2021 - Special Edition

February 10, 2021

Nominated by students for the Faculty Smackdown in support of the United Way of the Lower Mainland, Taco "Extra Guacamole" Niet took on Ahmed "Street Brawler" Al-Rawi from the Communications department.  The topic of the debate, "Be it resolved that, when insulted, one should smile and wave," was challenging for both competitors.  After a heated debate, where Extra Guacamole smiled and waved repeatedly at his opponent while Street Brawler suggested students RUN if the insult came from a larger person, the students voted.  Extra Guacamole beat out Street Brawler by 51% to 49%, taking the honour of the coveted Gnome-it-All Award.

ΔE+ awarded a $146,666 Mitacs grant to study fleet electrification and decarbonization in BC

January 06, 2021

ΔE+ was awarded a $146,666 Mitacs Accelerate grant to work with Fraser Basin Council and evaluate the barriers and opportunities for fleet decarbonization in BC.  Working with Dr. Erik Kjeang, Mechatronics Systems Engineering faculty, and with Fraser Basin Council, this project will survey fleet managers, assess infrastructure implications, and provide recommendations to fleet managers and the Province of British Columbia on how best to meet BC's low carbon transportation goals for fleet vehicles.

Tewodros Walle Mekonen, Trevor Barnes, Sammy Kasper, Mikhail Linsangan and Felipe Patarroyo Sing joing join ΔE+

January 04, 2021

The ΔE+ team grew for the January 2021 term.  Joining the team are Tewodros as a Ph.D. student, Trevor as a M.A.Sc. student, and Sammy, Mikhail and Felipe as coop students.  We are excited to have them join the team!  Check out their bios on the People page.

ΔE+ Masters' Student Kamaria Kuling named SFU Living Lab Scholar

December 04, 2020

Kamaria Kuling, ΔE+ Masters' student, was named one of the 2021 SFU Living Lab Scholars.  Kamaria will be appling the vehicle fleet life cycle assessment tool Fleet LCA to the assessment of decarbonization pathways for the SFU vehicle fleet.  Through her work as a Living Lab Scholar Kamaria will contribute to the reduction of SFU's carbon footprint.

ΔE+ awarded two Energy Modelling Initiative (EMI) projects 

December 04, 2020

ΔE+ was awarded two project grants from the Energy Modelling Initiative (emi-ime.ca).  The first, Power to Gas to Enable Renewable Resources in Canada, will build an OSeMOSYS model of the Canadian energy system and evaluate the potential for Power to Gas technologies, namely Hydrogen electrolysis, to contribute to renewable integration.  The second, BC Nexus Model: Impacts of electrification on land and water resources through 2050, will evaluate the land use and water impacts of the increased electrification of heating, transportation and other loads to 2050.

ΔE+ works with UNDP and UN DESA to deliver remote CLEWs training to countries in the Asia Pacific

December 04, 2020

Dr. Taco Niet and Kamaria Kuling, ΔE+ researchers, have been supporting the UNDP and UN DESA training Asia Pacific countries on CLEWs modelling.  Part I of the training, teaching about how to build and use the CLEWs modelling methodology completed in December 2020, with the second part of the training, where trainers work with individual countries to build CLEWs models, will happen in early 2021.  This work was featured in the SFU News in an article titled How this SFU researcher works with UN to help nations reach their Paris Agreement goals.

Dr. Taco Niet presents CLEWs modelling work as SFU Student Energy "Professor of the Semester"

December 03, 2020

SFU's Chapter of Student Energy (facebook.com/SFUStudentEnergy/, studentenergy.org) invited Dr. Taco Niet to present on his work on Climate, Land, Energy and Water systems (CLEWs) modelling for their inagural "Professor of the Semester" event.

How will COVID-19 stimulus impact the climate?

July 15, 2020

Governments around the world have introduced stimulus packages to shield their economies from the impacts of COVID-19. Many diverse groups have called upon governments to ensure that these stimulus packages shift the focus from traditional fossil-fuel based industries towards policies that will contribute to climate change mitigation while stimulating the economy. We have evaluated stimulus measures taken by 14 representative countries from across the globe from the perspective of their long-term impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and environmental impacts. Unfortunately, most countries we analyzed focus their priority on short-term economic benefits over long-term environmentally friendly strategies that could potentially decrease GHG emissions.

Hepburn et al. [1] evaluated a variety of stimulus measures and classified them on both an environmentally friendliness and economic effectiveness scale. Based on this classification we have reviewed the publicly available data on the measures put in place in each of these countries and classified them as either:

  1. Green: Likely to reduce GHG emissions post COVD-19:  Germany – South Korea – Australia
  2. Yellow: Likely to maintain the status quo:  Canada – France – UK – South Africa – India
  3. Red: Likely to increase GHG emissions post COVID-19:  Russia – US – China – Nigeria – Egypt – Brazil

To illustrate the reasoning behind each classification we illustrate our method for Germany, Russia, and Canada. The reasoning is similar for all other countries evaluated.

Germany, our ‘green’ example, has an economic rescue package worth up to €130 billion ($147.5 billion US) to stimulate businesses and support workers [2]. €50 billion will go to addressing climate change by targeting initiatives such as public transport, electric vehicles, and renewable energy and €9 billion is earmarked to fund the hydrogen industry [3], [4]. Around 40% of Germany’s stimulus spending is focussed on a lower GHG emission future with the remaining 60% being neutral [5]. As our ‘red’ example, Russia has unveiled measures worth $72 billion US aimed at reviving the economy including significant investments in oil companies with no specific plans to address environmental sustainability [6], [7].

Canada has a more neutral response. While Russia has focussed stimulus on supporting the oil and gas industry and Germany has made climate change mitigation a cornerstone of their plan, Canada has put most of its stimulus into neutral job support for the economy. A few measures are aimed at environmental issues ($1.72 billion CAD for cleaning up abandoned oil and gas wells, $750 million CAD for reducing GHG emissions from conventional oil and gas [8]), but funds for the energy sector are going exclusively to the oil and gas industry, not renewable energy. Out of what is likely to be more than $150 billion CAD ($111.1 billion USD) of stimulus most of this is neutral economic support [9].

In evaluating different countries’ stimulus packages, we have found that twice as many countries are in the red category than the green. Given the pressing need to transition to a world with net-zero GHG emissions we have an opportunity to use COVID-19 stimulus to support sustainable initiatives while still bolstering the economy. While there is a high level of interest in this approach, there is further work to be done to ensure that in the recovery from COVID-19 we are not pushed further behind in our emission reduction goals. 

References

[1] C. Hepburn, B. O’Callaghan, N. Stern, J. Stiglitz, and D. Zenghelis, “Will COVID-19 fiscal recovery packages accelerate or retard progress on climate change?,” Oxf Rev Econ Policy, doi: 10.1093/oxrep/graa015.

[2] D. Welle (www.dw.com), “Germany’s Angela Merkel unveils stimulus package to kickstart economy | DW | 03.06.2020,” DW.COM. https://www.dw.com/en/germanys-angela-merkel-unveils-stimulus-package-to-kickstart-economy/a-53677420 (accessed Jun. 07, 2020).

[3] “Germany Just Unveiled the World’s Greenest Stimulus Plan,” Bloomberg.com, Jun. 05, 2020.

[4] J. de Weck, “Germany Is Finally Ready to Spend,” Foreign Policy. https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/06/22/germany-covid19-pandemic-stimulus-spending-savings-glut-europe/ (accessed Jul. 13, 2020).

[5] “The fiscal response to the economic fallout from the coronavirus | Bruegel.” https://www.bruegel.org/publications/datasets/covid-national-dataset/ (accessed Jul. 15, 2020).

[6] M. ANTONOVA, “Russia Unveils $72-billion Virus Recovery Plan.” https://www.barrons.com/news/russia-to-spend-over-70-billion-on-virus-recovery-plan-01591099504 (accessed Jul. 15, 2020).

[7] “Meeting on economic issues.” http://government.ru/en/news/39237/ (accessed Jul. 15, 2020).

[8] D. of F. Canada, “Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan,” aem, May 28, 2020. https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html#industry (accessed May 31, 2020).

[9] https://www.pbo-dpb.gc.ca, “COVID-19 Analysis,” PBO-DPB. https://www.pbo-dpb.gc.ca/en/covid-19 (accessed Jul. 15, 2020).

Sepehr Rezvanifard joins ΔE+ as a coop student

June 01, 2020

Sepehr Rezvanifard, a 3rd year SFU Mechatronic Systems Engineering student has joined the ΔE+ research group for a three month coop. He will be working with the team to evaluate combined modelling approaches as well as helping build the CLEWs Canada model. We are excited to have him join the team!

ΔE+ receives $50,000 SSHRC grant to evaluate combined modelling approaches

May 15, 2020

Through the SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Grant – Living within the Earth’s carrying capacity the ΔE+ research group received $50,000 to investigate best practices for combined modelling approaches. This research builds on the modelling expertise and knowledge of the research group to evaluate and identify best practices for the expanding use of combined modelling approaches.

Dr. Niet teaches modelling at the 2nd Indonesia CLEWs training workshop and the 2nd Ethiopia CLEWS training workshops

February 15, 2020

Dr. Niet travelled to Ethiopia and Indonesia in late January/early February to present at two CLEWs training workshops with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA).  At the Ethiopia CLEWs training workshop held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from January 27-31, 2020, Dr. Niet worked with participants to develop and evaluate energy future scenarios for Ethiopia using a CLEWs model developed for the workshop.  At the Indonesia CLEWs workshop (see image) held in Bandung, Indonesia from Feb 8 - 12, 2020 Dr. Niet worked with participants to expand their CLEWs modelling knowledge.  The workshop started with a review of the previous material and an overview of the Indonesia CLEWs model developed for the workshop.  Participants used this model to perform scenario analysis of different climate and energy interventions for Indonesia.

Kamaria Kuling joins ΔE+ as a Masters’ student

January 01, 2020

The ΔE+ team welcomes Kamaria Kuling as a Masters’ student working on model development. Kamaria joins us with a bachelors degree in physics from UBC and an enthusiasm for sustainable development. We are excited to be expanding our team!