Backbone: An adaptable energy systems modelling framework

Niina Helistö (Corresponding Author), Juha Kiviluoma, Jussi Ikäheimo, Topi Rasku, Erkka Rinne, Ciara O'Dwyer, Ran Li, Damian Flynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)
178 Downloads (Pure)


Backbone represents a highly adaptable energy systems modelling framework, which can be utilised to create models for studying the design and operation of energy systems, both from investment planning and scheduling perspectives. It includes a wide range of features and constraints, such as stochastic parameters, multiple reserve products, energy storage units, controlled and uncontrolled energy transfers, and, most significantly, multiple energy sectors. The formulation is based on mixed-integer programming and takes into account unit commitment decisions for power plants and other energy conversion facilities. Both high-level large-scale systems and fully detailed smaller-scale systems can be appropriately modelled. The framework has been implemented as the open-source Backbone modelling tool using General Algebraic Modeling System (GAMS). An application of the framework is demonstrated using a power system example, and Backbone is shown to produce results comparable to a commercial tool. However, the adaptability of Backbone further enables the creation and solution of energy systems models relatively easily for many different purposes and thus it improves on the available methodologies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3388
Number of pages34
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • energy systems
  • investment planning
  • modelling tools
  • modelling framework
  • open source
  • power systems
  • stochastic programming
  • unit commitment
  • variable renewable energy


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