Skip to main content
Politecnico di Milano

Modelling the Energy Transition: the revolution of open-source software

Deep dive on the energy modelling world to discover available open-source software for the analysis of the current and future Energy Transition.

Introduction to the sustainability series

This MOOC is part of the series on “Sustainability”, which is one of the world’s major challenges of today and tomorrow and requires multidisciplinary competences. The series provides technical knowledge on a variety of topics, such as sustainable building, energy transition, water management and food waste prevention.

Discover all the MOOCs of the “Sustainability” series on Pok4Professionals.

If you are a PoliMI student or staff member you have to log in using your Person Code. This is the only way to prove your participation in this course for official recognition.

Course description

The MOOC aims at providing the attendants with the fundamental knowledge of the main challenges that characterize the Energy Transition at both Global and Regional level, and a set of tools to scientifically support their analysis. The first part of the course is devoted to a general overview of the energy sector at national and regional scale, analysing energy flows and their transformations from primary resources to final energy products. Country balances are studied in terms of primary and electric energy balances to provide instruments to critically analise the energy situation of countries . In the second part of the MOOC energy modelling with its governing principles is introduced as an instrument to assist engineering analysis. Available open-source modelling approaches are also presented. Simplified and real-life case study will be treated with dedicated software as hands-on sessions for the attendants who will be able to master the set of software introduced in the MOOC and use them within their professional activity.

Total workload of the course: 6 hours

This MOOC is provided by Politecnico di Milano.

Information about fees and access to materials

The course is delivered in online mode and is available free of charge.

Course materials will remain available to all enrolled users after the end of the current edition, so they can return to content later. The current course edition will be followed by a new one just after its end.

Learning schedule

The course is structured in 3 weeks:

  • Week 1 – Energy challenge and energy accounting
  • Week 2 - Introduction to energy system modelling
  • Week 3 - Hands on module on supply energy system modelling (with tutorial)

Intended Learning Outcomes

By actively participating in this MOOC, you will achieve different intended learning outcomes (ILOs).

Week 1

  1. Indicate the main challenges influencing the energy transition at both global and regional level
    ESCO: energy market
  2. Describe the fundamentals of national energy accountings
    ESCO: accounting ESCO: explain accounting records ESCO: energy sector policies
  3. Define an energy reference system
    ESCO: energy

Week 2

  1. Explain the fundamentals of energy modelling and its governing principles
    ESCO: develop energy policy ESCO: allocating and controlling physical resources
  2. Describe the main taxonomy used for energy modelling
    ESCO: perform energy simulations

Week 3

  1. Use Excel’s basic linear programming principles for national energy planning
    ESCO: working with computers ESCO: using digital tools for collaboration, content creation and problem solving
  2. Describe the main taxonomy used for energy modelling
    ESCO: perform energy simulations
  3. Analyze national energy policies impacts and perform scenarios analysis
    ESCO: think analytically
  4. Discuss the results in terms of energy planning parameters from practical case studies
    ESCO: think critically


For this course is required MS Excel proficiency.


Over and above consulting the content, in the form of videos and other web-based resources, you will have the opportunity to discuss course topics and to share ideas with your peers in the Forum of this MOOC.


The final grade for the course is based on results from your responses to the quizzes you will find at the end of each week (weekly quizzes). You will successfully complete the course if you reach 60% (or more) of the total score by the end of the edition. The course’s total score will be calculated by averaging the scores of the assessed quizzes for each individual week.

Certificate of Accomplishment

The Certificate of Accomplishment will be released to anyone who successfully completed the course by achieving at least 60% of the total score in the assessed quizzes. You will be able to download the Certificate of Accomplishment directly from the website.

Once you have successfully passed the course, you can request the Certificate of Accomplishment without waiting for the end of the edition.

The Certificate of Accomplishment does not confer any academic credit, grade or degree.

European Qualifications Framework Level

EQF Level 7

Thematic area (ISCED-F classification)

0713 Electricity and energy

Discussion forum

The forum of this MOOC is freely accessible and participation is not guided; you can use it to compare yourself with other participants, or to discuss course contents with them.

Contact details

If you have any enquiries about the course or if you need technical assistance please contact For further information, see FAQ page.

Course Faculty

Emanuela Colombo

Emanuela Colombo

Emanuela Colombo has achieved both a PhD in Energetic and a Nuclear Engineering MSc at Politecnico di Milano where she is currently Full Professor in “Engineering for Cooperation and Development” and “Thermoeconomics and Energy Modelling” at the Department of Energy. She has been covering the role of Rector’s Delegate to Cooperation and Development at Politecnico di Milano since 2005 and in 2011 she introduced a new track in the MSc in Energy Engineering focus on “Energy for Development”. In 2012 she has been named Chair holder of the UNESCO CHAIR on Energy for Sustainable Development assigned to the Department of Energy. She was the scientific coordinator of 4 European projects and one international tender on Green Innovation (Egypt), Sustainable Energy Engineering (Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia), Water Energy and Food nexus (Egypt), Modern Energy services in refugee camps (Lebanon, Somalia, RCA and Colombia) and Capacity Building in Engineering (Tanzania). She has managed the Africa Innovation Leaders Programme funded by the Italian Agency of Cooperation in Kenya, Ethiopia, Niger, Nigeria, Mozambique and Tunisia). Author of more than 200 scientific papers, 120 of which are in Scopus with an H index of 22. She is currently involved in scientific coordination of the Pillar 2 within the LEAP-RE project, the Long-Term Joint EU-AU Research and Innovation Partnership on Renewable Energy financed by the European Commission.

Riccardo Mereu

Riccardo Mereu

Riccardo Mereu is currently Associate Professor at Department of Energy of Politecnico di Milano and lecturer of the course “Innovative Technologies for Energy” and “Sustainable Development”. His research mainly focuses on numerical modeling of energy industrial components and systems and application of sustainable energy technologies with particular attention to Developing Countries. Since 2010 he has been involved in different national and international projects with universities, NGOs and energy companies for modeling and optimization of energy systems and components for international private companies. He has been and his currently member / task and WP co-leader of several international projects: LEAP-RE and PRE-LEAP H2020 (Africa), European projects Sustainable Energy Engineering (Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia), Modern Energy services in refugee camps (Lebanon, Somalia, RCA and Colombia) and Capacity Building in Engineering (Tanzania). Since 2007 he is project engineer and actually Vice-President of Engineering Without Borders – Milan (ISF-MI) operating as member and responsible of the Energy Working Group, with focus on design and developing appropriate technologies and related modeling tools. He is author of more than 100 scientific papers, 43 of which in Scopus with more than 1000 citations, H-Index 14.

Nicolò Stevanato

Nicolò Stevanato

Nicolò Stevanato is a Doctoral Researcher in Energy and Nuclear Sciences and Technologies at Politecnico di Milano. His field of research field locates in the framework of energy system modelling for policy support and long-term energy planning in developing countries, with particular focus on the issue of access to electricity in rural areas. In particular the research investigates the nexus between fundamental human needs and electricity demand, defined as Demand-Needs Nexus. He achieved his Master’s Degree in Energy Engineering – Power Production at Politecnico di Milano, during which period spent one year in UTFSM University in Chile, where he got in contact with the concept of engineering applied to sustainable development, and in particular to tackle the access to electricity issue. He is involved as a researcher in the LEAP-RE project, the Long-Term Joint EU-AU Research and Innovation Partnership on Renewable Energy financed by the European Commission.

Francesco Tonini

Francesco Tonini

Francesco Tonini is a Doctoral Researcher at Politecnico di Milano, Department of Energy. His research activity focuses on integrated impact assessment of energy related investments and interventions with specific focus to developing countries. Within this field he collaborates with Italian energy companies and NGOs. More specifically, he developed a direct experience about the African continent collaborating with an Italian NGO active in the rural context of Tanzania in providing access to electricity and modern facilities to local communities. As far as teaching experience, Francesco is active as scientific tutor and lectures facilitator for several specializing master courses organized by private companies in partnership with the Department of Energy at Politecnico di Milano. He collaborates with international institutions and development organization for the provision of capacity building and training programs for energy professionals and researchers around the world. His research activity is awarded by the Enel Foundation Fellowship for PhD studies aimed to identify crossroads between advanced technologies. His Master Thesis on System Dynamics modelling for rural electrification strategies is awarded with the Altero Matteoli memorial price because of its relevance toward the care about common good.

Diana Shendrikova

Diana Shendrikova

Diana Shendrikova is senior researcher at Politecnico di Milano, Department of Energy. She holds a PhD in History of International Relations and Political Science from Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. Her research focuses on geopolitics of energy, energy policy and energy diplomacy in the framework of scientific diplomacy. She is an awardee of international grants and scholarships from European Commission, Japan’s Ministry of Education and Japan Foundation. She has been formerly employed as researcher at ISPI (Italian Institute for International Political Studies), where she was part of ISPI Energy Watch and Russia, Caucasus and Central Asia Programme, as researcher and senior consultant at FEEM (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei) and as a consultant and project manager in a sustainability communication consulting firm in Milan. During her academic carrier she conducted research projects in Italy, Japan, Russia and Ghana and authored more than 30 publications.

Creative Commons License
This course is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License except where otherwise specified.

  1. Classes Start

    lug 24, 2023
  2. Classes End

    feb 29, 2024
  3. Length

    3 weeks
  4. Estimated Effort

    1-2 hours/week
  5. Language

  6. Course Number

  7. MOOCs For Professionals