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LIMES - Long-term Investment Model for the Electricity Sector

LIMES modeling framework

LIMES is a linear optimization modeling framework that simultaneously determines cost-minimizing investment and dispatch decisions for generation, storage and transmission technologies that are needed in order to serve an exogenous future demand for electricity and to comply with future energy and climate policies. Its integrated approach together with an intertemporal optimization until 2050 allows for analyzing consistent and cost-efficient pathways for the future development of a power system – both on aggregate and on regional level. The LIMES modeling framework has been applied in numerous peer-reviewed studies on the German (Ludig et al., 2015, 2011) and European power system (Knopf et al., 2015; Schmid and Knopf, 2015) as well as on an integrated system comprising Europe and the MENA region (Haller et al., 2012).


LIMES-EU is the latest version of LIMES. Most importantly, it includes a novel approach for better representing the temporal variability of wind and solar power (Nahmmacher et al., 2014a). The model comprises 26 of the 28 EU Member States (excluding Malta and Cyprus) plus Switzerland, Norway and the Balkan region. Except for the Balkan region, all countries are represented as individual model regions in order to analyze both national and aggregate European results. The following figure summarizes the main features of LIMES-EU. Osorio et al. (2018) provide a comprehensive model documentation.


LIMES-EU Model Overview


Haller, M., Ludig, S., Bauer, N., 2012. Decarbonization scenarios for the EU and MENA power system: Considering spatial distribution and short term dynamics of renewable generation. Energy Policy 47, 282–290. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2012.04.069

Knopf, B., Nahmmacher, P., Schmid, E., 2015. The European renewable energy target for 2030 – An impact assessment of the electricity sector. Energy Policy 85, 50–60. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2015.05.010

Ludig, S., Haller, M., Schmid, E., Bauer, N., 2011. Fluctuating renewables in a long-term climate change mitigation strategy. Energy 36, 6674–6685. doi:10.1016/

Ludig, S., Schmid, E., Haller, M., Bauer, N., 2015. Assessment of transformation strategies for the German power sector under the uncertainty of demand development and technology availability. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 46, 143–156. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2015.02.044

Osorio, S., Nahmmacher, P., Schmid, E., Knopf, B., 2018. Documentation of LIMES-EU - A long-term electricity system model for Europe, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Potsdam.

Nahmmacher, P., Schmid, E., Hirth, L., Knopf, B., 2016a. Carpe diem: A novel approach to select representative days for long-term power system modeling. Energy 112, 430–442. doi:10.1016/

Nahmmacher, P., Schmid, E., Pahle, M., Knopf, B., 2016b. Strategies against shocks in power systems – An analysis for the case of Europe. Energy Econ. 59, 455–465. doi:10.1016/j.eneco.2016.09.002

Schmid, E., Knopf, B., 2015. Quantifying the long-term economic benefits of European electricity system integration. Energy Policy 87, 260–269. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2015.09.026

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