Open-Source Backbone Model for Studying the Development of the Baltic Energy System

Nelli Putkonen, Tomi J. Lindroos, Eimantas Neniskis, Diana Zalostiba, Egidijus Norvaisa, Arvydas Galinis, Jana Teremranova, Juha Kiviluoma

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference articleScientificpeer-review


The Baltic countries ― Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania ― are facing new tighter 2030 emission reduction targets proposed by the EU from a unique position. In the next ten years, the Baltic countries are looking to desynchronize from Russia’s electricity grid and join the synchronous grid of Continental Europe while phasing out a substantial share of power generation from fossil fuels. Until recently, Estonia has been a net exporter of electricity due to a large-scale oil shale industry, while Lithuania has been a major electricity importer since the shutdown of their nuclear power station some ten years ago. The Baltic countries look to renewable power generation ― especially wind and PV ― as well as electrification of transport and heating to transform their energy system while maintaining security and cost-efficiency.
We have developed an open-source energy system dataset and model for the Baltic region using the Backbone modelling framework to investigate these energy system changes. We model both annual and hourly operation of the system. The developed model includes Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian power and heat production, transport and building sectors. New technologies, like hydrogen and storage technologies, have been added to the model. The results yield annual data on electricity and heat generation, hourly cost-optimal unit commitment, system costs, CO2 emissions and shares of domestic and renewable power production.
Our first results investigate the national plans of the Baltic countries as they prepare for 2030. A significant transition from fossil power production towards wind and solar is taking place, which results in substantial CO2 emission reductions in power and heat generation. However, thermal capacity phase-out and disconnection from Russia may bring operational and economic challenges, especially for Estonian and Lithuanian systems. In contrast, the role of electrification in transport and heating will likely remain relatively small between 2020 and 2030.
The next steps include studying impacts of different scenario settings and sensitivities on energy security and system economics, inclusion of neighboring energy systems, and a pathway analysis towards carbon-neutrality. While development continues, we encourage the research community to use the openly available data and model as tools and references.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2021
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
Event16th Conference on Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems, SDEWES - Dubrovnik, Croatia
Duration: 10 Oct 202115 Oct 2021


Conference16th Conference on Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems, SDEWES


  • Energy system model
  • Baltic States
  • Renewable energy
  • Emission reduction
  • Wind power


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