Towards net-zero emissions: Agent-based modeling to evaluate CA building electrification policies

Towards net-zero emissions: Agent-based modeling to evaluate CA building electrification policies

Seminar Abstract 

California leads the international race to net-zero emission economies by aiming at carbon neutrality in 2045. While California’s building sector is responsible for a large share of national carbon emissions, its full electrification gathers momentum.  Buildings substitute fossil-fuel heating systems with energy-efficient heat pumps, become prosumers by installing solar photovoltaics and battery storage, and face new sources of electricity demand such as the charging of electric vehicles. However, the electrification of the building sector begins to challenge the existing electricity system through sharp system-wide load changes and high retail electricity prices. Addressing such challenges requires policymakers to re-design public support policies.

In three studies, we test policies applying an agent-based model of California’s residential building sector between 2005 and 2045. First, we investigate the impact of combinations of policies, including retail rate design, feed-in remuneration, upfront support, on the diffusion of solar photovoltaics and battery storage. Second, we evaluate how the targeted rollout of 4.4m EVs can support the integration of high shares of solar photovoltaics under different time-varying electricity pricing schemes. Third, we test how full electrification and decarbonization of buildings until 2045 affects the existing electricity system.

Seminar Speaker(s) 

Marius Schwarz
Ph.D. Canditate, ETH Zürich
ETH Zürich webpage

Marius Schwarz joined the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETH Zurich) for his doctoral studies in 2016. For his research, he focuses on the interplay between technology diffusion and overarching systems, investigating how policies can address integration challenges of high shares of renewables and energy storage. Prior to that, he developed an award-winning Master Thesis at ETH on the knowledge creation in the energy storage and solar photovoltaics industry.

Marius holds a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration from the RWTH Aachen University. In this context, Marius spent one academic semester at the Linköping University in Sweden. Marius gained work experience in consultancy at the Kienbaum Management Consultancy (Investigating drivers of the adoption of electric vehicles) and Accenture, Wolfsburg (Managing IT rollouts in the automotive industry). He also worked as a project manager at Aixsolution and in production process engineering at Saint-Gobain.


Dec 3, 2019 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm