Flex4RES project demonstrates how the challenge of integrating high shares of variable renewable energy in the energy system can be handled efficiently through a stronger coupling of energy markets across the Nordic and Baltic region, thereby facilitating a zero-carbon energy transition. Pathways towards coherent, flexible energy systems encompassing the electricity, heat, gas, and transport sectors are identified by combining technical analysis of flexibility potentials, economic analysis of markets and regulatory frameworks, and energy system modelling quantifying impacts.

The Flex4RES project investigates how an intensified interaction between coupled energy markets, supported by coherent regulatory frameworks, can facilitate the integration of high shares of variable renewable energy (VRE), in turn ensuring stable, sustainable and cost-efficient Nordic energy systems.

Through a holistic system approach based on coupled energy markets, we identify potentials, costs and benefits of achieving flexibility in the Nordic electricity market created by the heat, gas and transport sectors as well as by electricity transmission and generation. Flex4RES develops and applies a multidisciplinary research strategy that combines technical analysis of flexibility needs and potentials, economic analysis of markets and regulatory frameworks, and energy system modeling that quantifies impacts. We develop coherent regulatory frameworks and market designs that facilitate market interactions, which are optimal for the Nordic conditions in an EU context, and identify transition pathways to sustainable Nordic energy systems. Flex4RES will comprehensively discuss and disseminate the recommended pathways and market designs for achieving a future Nordic sustainable energy solution with a variety of stakeholders from government, industry and civil society.

Flex4RES objectives

Energy system flexibility is gaining increasing interest internationally and is definitely one of the hot topics in energy R&D. The Flex4RES partners actively contribute to this research field.

The primary objective of Flex4RES is to:

  • Identify and assess regulatory and technical pathways towards coherent Nordic energy systems in 2050 based on strong interactions between different energy markets that ensure resilience, sustainability and efficiency.

The secondary objectives are to:

  • Estimate the need for flexibility in the future Nordic power market.
  • Estimate the potentials and costs of flexibility in the Nordic power market created by the coupling of and increased interaction between different energy sectors (electricity, heat, gas and transport).
  • Identify regulatory and technological barriers to intensified market interaction. Develop coherent regulatory frameworks and market designs that facilitate energy market couplings that are appropriate for the Nordic conditions in an EU context.
  • Adapt a high-resolution Nordic energy market model covering heat, power, gas, and transport for quantification of the impacts of different market couplings, regulatory frameworks and market designs.
  • Estimate the cost and benefits of a coherent energy system framework, and of the required supply of flexibility.

The Flex4RES consortium

The Flex4RES consortium consists of prominent research institutions from the Nordic and Baltic countries, including the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Norwegian University of Life Science (NMBU), the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Riga Technical University (RTU), Aalto University, Stockholm School of Economics, and the Norwegian Centre for Research Quality and Policy Impact Studies (NIFU).