Journal of the Knowledge Economy

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 670–685 | Cite as

An Exploratory Analysis of the Dutch Electricity System in Transition



Recent contextual developments constitute a backdrop of change for the Dutch electricity system. Institutional change driven by liberalization, changing economic competitiveness of the dominant fuels, new technologies, and changing end-user preferences regarding electricity supply are some examples of these developments. This paper explores plausible transition trajectories in the face of these developments given technological uncertainty about investment and operating costs, and fuel efficiency of various alternative technologies; political uncertainty about future CO2 abatement policies such as emission trading; and socio-economic uncertainty about fuel prices, investment decisions of suppliers, and load curves. Various alternative developments for these uncertainties are specified. The consequences of each of these alternative developments are assessed using an agent-based model of the Dutch electricity system. The outputs are analyzed using various data-mining and data visualization techniques in order to reveal arch-typical transition trajectories and their conditions for occurring. Policy recommendations are derived from this. The results indicate that most transition trajectories point towards a future energy supply system that is reliant on clean coal and gas. Under the explored uncertainties, only rarely a transition to renewables occurs. The various sustainable energy support programs appear to be ineffective in steering the energy supply system towards a more sustainable mode of functioning across the various uncertainties.


Electricity supply Transitions Exploratory modeling and analysis Uncertainty Agent-based modeling 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Technology, Policy and ManagementDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Industrial Engineering DepartmentBoğaziçi UniversityİstanbulTurkey

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