Transition of Regional Energy Systems (TREES)

TREES is a System Dynamics based simulation platform (Sterman (2000) and Forrester (1961)) for actors in regional energy systems, such as cities / municipalities, utility companies, technology developers and investors. TREES can be used as a virtual energy system to test strategies for a successful energy transition under different scenarios. A focus is set on the diffusion of system solutions for renewable energies, such as prosumer systems, microgrids, energy hubs, storage, virtual power plants, and the causal interrelations with business models and its impact on the achievement of energy system goals over time, such as share of renewables, CO2-emission reduction, economics, or autarky levels.

Generic model structure

TREES is based on a socio-technical transition framework that consists of a set of generic models that capture decisive processes of transition challenges in regional energy systems. The generic models can be used for case specific applications. The structure of the models is built based on insights from participatory workshops with stakeholders and results from case specific applications. Technically, the model is a set of differential, integral and auxiliary equations that is continuously simulated over the simulation time span of 2000 to 2050.

Model inputs

  • Regional potential and boundaries, such as physical limits or land use regulations
  • Technology specific cost and social acceptance
  • Regional specific initial conditions for energy consumption, decentral production, central capacities, etc.
  • Policies such as incentives, subsidies, tariffs, and charges

Model outputs

  • Local energy production
  • Share of decentral energy production
  • Success and dominance shifts of business models
  • Development of central energy infrastructure and costs as well as the diffusion of smart grid technology


  • Sterman, J. (2000): Business Dynamics.McGraw-Hill.
  • Forrester, J.W. (1961): Industrial Dynamics. Cambridge, MA: The M.I.T. Press.
  • Kirchner, A. et al (2012): Energy Perspectives for Switzerland until 2050 [German], Prognos AG, Basel.
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