During the debate in the years 1981-1982 on the expansion of atomic power in Belgium, I developed two simulation models: EPLAN and MDYN. MDYN is a dynamic programming model of the Belgian power generation system with as characteristics: an hourly optimization of merit order runs, amended by must-run units, other imposed re-rankings of merit order, start-up costs, pumped storage transactions. All Belgian power plants were included with their detailed attributes. The model was used to assess power expansion plans and therefore also computed detailed loss-of-load indicators of the integrated power system. The model was used in a decision analysis setting to assess proposed expansions of the Belgiam system with large atomic power plants (1983-1988). Together with colleagues from various scientific institutes and universities I worked for the National Energy R&D Program (1976-1986), only interrupted for a one year stay as a special PhD student at Stanford University in 1978-79.
Our know-how and models were also used to analyze phase-out scenario's of nuclear power in Belgium (generating 65~55% of its power from atomic plants). The studies showed the technical and economic feasibility of an alternative future based on significant progress in energy use efficiency and in renewable energy technologies, complemented by CHP plants and other smaller scale fossil fuel (natural gas) power plants. Although the scenario's were robust and well documented, the political interest was but coming from the Green parties in Belgium, and not well considered by the established parties in power at that time. Perhaps a late result may be the 2003-law that enacted the phase-out from nuclear power in Belgium of the electric power plants after 40 years of operation. This law was pushed by the Green parties sharing in the government in the 1999-2003 period.
Since the 1980s I also followed the debate on liberalization and deregulation of the electricity sector in the European Union. My main contribution was the design of a normative structure for the sector. This proposed structure is technically and economically sound, based on my understanding of how real power systems function. It is tested on a set of five criteria, including the aspects of equity and sustainability. While the proposal was debated on some fora, it was too far away of the incumbent power companies interests at that time. What can be observed is that after the weak Internal Energy Market directive of 1996/97, the refurbished version of 2003 and the ongoing debates on the third package move in the direction of some main attributes of the designed normative structure.
At present my interest in this subject is limited to teaching the course "Electricity Economics" [see top menu "Courses"].