FOSDEM Energy Devroom CfP until 3 December 2022

Hi openmod community, I’m involved in organising the Energy Devroom at the FOSDEM conference in Brussels on 4 February 2023. We want your presentations related to energy systems and energy usage. I know you are more into modelling and data and often with a longer time horizon. I do however still think the methods of modelling and the models themselves can be interesting to the developer audience. Straight up project presentations are welcome but tangible applications and use-cases are preferred, so are stories & lessons for community building in the energy industry. The morning will be virtual, the afternoon will be on location, so we accommodate both pre-recorded and live presentations. We hope to provide a stage to many communities like yours that have a relation to energy. The deadline to submit a proposal is 3 December.


  • CfP = call for participation
  • FOSDEM = Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting, see wikipedia
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@nicorikken advises by email yesterday that the deadline for CfP (call for participation) proposals has been extended six days to Friday 09 December 2022 at 23:59 +0000 UTC.


I will shortly submit the following three abstracts in rank order. And request 20 minutes for each (the maximum on offer being 55 minutes).

If someone else has submitted something covering much the same theme at my third abstract, I would be quite happy to have it bumped.

And please offer comments, either below in public, via private messaging using this forum, or by email. The work outlined is all somewhat speculative and could certainly be improved upon.

1 : Update on open‑source energy system modeling in the global south and including Africa

STATUS: accepted

Energy system models are simulations of future energy systems that can be used to test scenarios. More specifically, such models can explore a range of net‑zero options in an integrated fashion, determine which scenarios are indeed feasible, and then report on system development trajectories, detailed and aggregate costs, and related attributes for further consideration. Many of the underlying modeling frameworks are now fully‑fledged open‑source projects. In addition, there are several nascent initiatives to develop coherent databanks and also the overarching data standards they require, with both endeavors suitably open licensed.

These various efforts are now starting to spill into the global south generally and sub‑Saharan Africa in particular. A number of potential benefits then arise from this kind of open analysis. The first is the zero monetary cost of course. The next is organic knowledge transfer both northward and southward within the various project communities. A third is doubtless that a greater range of scenarios will be placed on the table — indeed I sense that the multilateral agencies working in Africa have settled on a selected set of solutions and that suggestions that fall outside the prevailing orthodoxy are unwarranted and unwanted. A fourth potential advantage is local engagement, and further, the prospects of improved local autonomy — and while there are no examples of model‑mediated public processes in the global south as yet, that concept is being trialed in the global north.

The use of open analysis in the global south will offer distinctive challenges nonetheless. The most obvious difficulty is data availability and a number of proxy solutions have been developed. The next is how best to channel these efforts into public policy formation and then on to live projects. Also critical will be the necessity of finding new ways of interacting between official agencies and these clearly informal modeling communities.

Two of the leading open‑source framework projects, OSeMOSYS and PyPSA, have begun significant efforts to broaden into the global south. These two initiative will be reviewed (I am not directly involved in either).

Clearly early days still but sufficient progress has been made to warrant an update at FOSDEM’23.

2 : Energy systems data, overarching standards, and a knowledge commons — from a legal perspective

Energy system models are simulations of future energy systems that can be used to test scenarios. As such, they are extremely data intensive and critically dependent on both data availability and the legal right to use and reuse that information.

To set some context for this session. Only information that has been or can be legitimately made public is in scope — and only that subset that is of some public interest. Then to further restrict focus to structured data and the data models that govern that structured data. Such data may comprise: lists of generation assets, timeseries covering demand, market clearance information, parameters characterizing engineering plant, graph structures representing network connectivity, geospatial information for various purposes, and representative past and future weather years. Data models may include glossaries, database schemas, reference architectures, and ontologies. When a broad cooperation is sought, these data models need to be both consensus‑driven and suitably open licensed.

The legal status of these overarching data models has not received sufficient attention to date. In the energy sector historically, such models are typically incorporated as industry standards and distributed under FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) licensing terms and with four‑figure cover prices. The problem is not simply one of cost and availability however. The copyright in non‑open data models may potentially pass across to conforming datasets, even though the collated data itself is able to be open licensed. And that same copyright may also transmit to any energy systems framework that embeds the articulated semantics. The best solution is simply to open license these data models — which then resolves both issues in a single stroke.

The open licensing of the datasets themselves needs to avoid the creation of legally‑determined data silos. At present, the Creative Common CC‑BY‑4.0 license offers the best general solution in terms of being well known, international, in common usage, and with at least some government licenses already inbound‑compatible. The use of other instruments will likely hinder the development of a much needed knowledge commons spanning the energy systems domain.

This session will also review a number of problematic examples, including the use of bespoke (one‑off) public licenses by key research institutes and the use of non‑disclosure by pivotal agencies.

3 : What are energy system models — and why make them open?

Energy system models are simulations of future energy systems that can be used to test scenarios. The simulations themselves offer high spatial, temporal, and topological (network) resolution and may employ clustering techniques to improve numerical tractability. Aspects of abutting systems are sometimes included, such as land usage, water resources, and industrial materials flows. Time horizons typically run to 2050. And climate modified future weather sets are now routinely applied.

The simulations themselves capture both systems operations and capacity expansion and retirement. They embed various forms of decision‑making and differing levels of foresight. Carbon‑constrained cost optimality is usually the goal, with near‑optimal solutions now sometimes also explored. These formulations are well suited to variable renewables generation and synergistic storage. When a scenario proves feasible, reported outputs include the system development trajectory, detailed and aggregate costs, and related attributes. Techniques to assess both model robustness and system resilience are now also starting to be developed and deployed.

Individual simulations can also act as a test bed for hypothetical future technologies, such as green hydrogen, emobility, and incentivized load management — as well as left‑field solutions like consumption sufficiency.

A number of the underlying modeling frameworks are now fully‑fledged open‑source projects with active and rapidly growing communities.

An emerging theme is the uptake of such models in the global south generally and in sub‑Saharan Africa specifically. Open methods offer analysts in the global south comparative ease of entry and informal knowledge transfer. While the projects themselves should benefit from improved uptake and diversity. And the greater analytical scope should enhance the available solution space, particularly as energy systems are essentially global.

One novel idea is the application of commons‑based peer production to public policy development, in part driven by the simple expedient that public agencies alone do not have the capacity to search the potential scenario space — and nor the creativity for that matter (with neither aspect intended as a criticism of government analysts).

This session will briefly cover the more notable framework projects and review the benefits of adopting open‑source development, open data, and data models that are both widely negotiated and genuinely open.

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Wauw, three distinct but interesting and relevant topics I think. We already got quite a number of submissions so thanks for submitting for the smaller timeslot. How many would you like to take on for the day? Would you be willing to present two or even three for that matter?

Hi @nicorikken Back‑to‑back is no trouble. One suggestion would be to fold abstract 3 into the front of abstract 1 as a way of providing some context. Abstract 2 is not especially related to the numerics in the same way and should remain stand‑alone I think. As indicated, I am happy to forego abstract 3 altogether if others want to cover that material, I really only wrote it for completeness.

The date has been extended, but I am unable to submit my proposal.

@valasai what are you struggling with? You can reach us at and even send the abstract there if Penta doesn’t work. We cannot close the CfP so that cannot be an issue.

FOSDEM’23 Energy devroom schedule now out

The FOSDEM'23 Energy devroom (for "developer room") schedule is now finalized, see here, together with abstracts and presenter bios:

I recognize the names of three presenters from the openmod community:

The organizers report an “overwhelming amount of submissions”.

This is a hybrid event and is being both streamed and archived. More information and the relevant URLs available here: