Effect of the Foresight Horizon on Computation Time and Results using a Regional Energy Systems Optimization Model
Due to the high complexity of detailed sector-coupling models, a perfect foresight optimization approach reaches complexity levels that either requires a reduction of covered time-steps or very long run-times. To mitigate these issues, a myopic approach with limited foresight can be used. This paper examines the influence of the foresight horizon on local energy systems using the model DISTRICT. DISTRICT is characterized by its intersectoral approach to a regionally bound energy system with a connection to the superior electricity grid level. It is shown that with the advantage of a significantly reduced run-time, a limited foresight yields fairly similar results when the input parameters show a stable development. With unexpected, shock-like events, limited foresight shows more realistic results since it cannot foresee the sudden parameter changes. In general, the limited foresight approach tends to invest into generation technologies with low variable cost and avoids investing into demand reduction or efficiency with high upfront costs as it cannot compute the benefits over the time span necessary for full cost recovery. These aspects should be considered when choosing the foresight horizon.