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Syllabus for

Academic year
SEE030 - Variation management in the electricity system
Variationshantering i elsystemet
Syllabus adopted 2018-02-19 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPSES
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Energy and Environmental Systems and Technology, Chemical Engineering with Engineering Physics, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering

Teaching language: English
Application code: 39118
Open for exchange students: No
Block schedule: A
Maximum participants: 50

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0118 Written and oral assignments 7,5c Grading: TH   7,5c    

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Lisa Göransson

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In order to be eligible for a second cycle course the applicant needs to fulfil the general and specific entry requirements of the programme that owns the course. (If the second cycle course is owned by a first cycle programme, second cycle entry requirements apply.)
Exemption from the eligibility requirement: Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling these requirements.

Course specific prerequisites

The student should have documented calculation skills, basic knowledge of energy conversion and have taken the Chalmers course Sustainable Energy Futures or similar at another university.


The aim of the course is to provide the student with knowledge of technologies and strategies to manage variations in the electricity system, with focus on variations in the timespan of hours to seasons. The course includes aspects of variation management on detailed technology and process level as well as a system level understanding of the role of different variation management strategies in electricity systems with large shares of wind and solar power.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

  • Describe how variability impact the electricity system composition
    • Explain how variations in load has formed the present electricity system
    • Reflect on how variations in wind and solar power could influence the composition of the future electricity system
  • Describe how the design of wind and solar power installations impact the variations in the electricity system in terms of technology choices, geographical distribution of power production and possibilities for power transfer.
  • Apply classifications to explain similarities and differences between variation management strategies.
  • Put forward the underlying technical processes behind variation management strategies.
  • Discuss how the underlying technical processes impact the properties of the variation management strategies.
  • Reflect on which actors are involved in different variation management strategies
    • Evaluate different investment alternatives
    •  Discuss the benefits of different strategies from different actor perspectives
  • Discuss the effects of upscaling of variation management strategies on the environment and on resource availability.
  • Discuss how the choice of variation management strategy depends on the electricity system context.
  • Describe how variation management strategies impact the electricity system, in terms of marginal cost of electricity, full load hours of different generation technologies and investments in new power production.
  • Reflect on how variation management strategies interact with each other.


The focus of the course is on strategies to manage variations in the electricity system on timescales form hours to seasons. The course covers the following topics:
  • Variations in electricity demand, wind and solar production, and how these variations impact the electricity system composition.
  • Overview of variation management strategies and classifications of these.
  • Description of underlying technical processes for variation management with
    • thermal mass in electrically heated households,
    • batteries,
    • electrolysis, hydrogen storage and fuel cells,
    • flexible thermal production,
    • hydropower,
    • linkages to district heating,
    • linkages to the transportation sector.
  • Environmental impact of variation management up-scaling
  • Methods to calculate costs and revenue for different variation management strategies
  • The impact of variation management strategies on the electricity price, electricity system operation and on investments in the electricity system.


The course is composed of a number of lectures and exercises. The exercises are large, open-end questions tackled in groups and solutions are summarized in mini-reports. A mid-term exam is given with focus on the underlying technical processes of the variation management strategies. A take-home exam with oral follow-up is given at the end of the course.


Electrochemical Energy Storage for Renewable Sources and Grid Balancing and scientific articles.

Examination including compulsory elements

mid-term exam (25%), take-home exam with oral follow-up (75 %) and approved mini-reports   

Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.