Methodology of ecoinvent 3

Methodology of ecoinvent 3

How can I see the technology mix of an electricity market?

The composition of electricity mixes, i.e. the contribution of electricity production, storage and imports to electricity markets, can be seen in the linked electricity market datasets of any system model (see Figure). You can also find the market composition of any linked market in the file “market composition_3.5.xlsx” in the “Reports” section of ecoQuery.


Figure: Screen shot from EcoQuery, dataset “market for electricity, high voltage, CH”, version 3.4, cut-off system model, January 2018.



However, due to imports from other countries the linked datasets do not allow to see the electricity mix by technology, for example 45% hydro power, 25% nuclear. For this type of breakdown please consult the file "electricity_market_technologies_v3.4.xlsx" (for v3.3 and v3.4) and  "electricity_market_technologies_v3.5.xlsx" (for v3.5) available in the “Reports” section of ecoQuery.

Tracing back the convoluted chains of imports these files show a detailed list of all activities which are directly or indirectly supplying an electricity market. Aggregating this list by technology, i.e. disregarding the geographical origin of supplying activities, results in the technology mix for each electricity market in v3.3, v3.4 and v3.5 (see tab “by_technology”).


For example, the current average (attributional, cut-off system model) and the long-term marginal electricity mix 2015-2030 (consequential system model) mix of the high voltage electricity market in Switzerland (v3.4) are visualized in the below graphs.


Figure: Attributional and consequential electricity mix in Switzerland by generation technology as of ecoinvent version 3.4., October 2017.



Each market also accounts for losses. Note that in addition to the losses from transmission (which are commonly below 10%) this also includes losses occurring in pumped storage plants. Electricity supplied by pumped storage power plants is generated from electricity itself rather than from a primary energy carrier. It is therefore disregarded in the technology mixes. As a result, markets with a large pumped storage capacity show very high losses. For example, in Uruguay losses amount to 38%.



Find out here how electricity market mixes are modelled.





European Commission. (2016). EU Reference Scenario 2016. Eurostat (2017) Energy Balances (2017 edition),

International Energy Agency, (2016), World Energy Outlook 2016. Paris.