Topics for master theses

Topics for master theses

Here is a list of possible topics to write a Master thesis under the supervision of ENE’s researchers:

  • Green Energy and Guarantees of Origin

    Green Energy and Guarantees of Origin

    During the last years, governments around the world have implemented different policies to promote investments in renewable production capacity. One of the main instruments is a policy known as guarantees of origin. These guarantees operate as a guarantee for final consumers that the electricity they consume comes from renewable energy sources.

    An important characteristic of the guarantees is that the producers are free to sell the electricity and guarantees separately. What we are observing is that while electricity from Norwegian hydropower is largely sold to consumers in Norway, the guarantees from Norwegian hydropower is sold to consumers in Germany and the Netherlands. Despite the growing importance of this policy, there are few studies of the impacts of guarantees of origin on renewable production capacity.

    In this master thesis, the students will investigate the effect of this policy instrument on renewable electricity capacity in Europe. What has Norway’s role been in promoting renewable energy capacity through guarantees of origin? What has the interaction been between guarantees of origin and other incentives to boost investments in renewable production capacity? And what are the implications of the de-coupling of the sale of the electricity with the sale of the guarantees?

    This topic of research is suitable for many different types of methods, depending on the interests and skills of the students. The thesis can be based on either a statistical analysis, case study or modelling exercise.

    Supervisor: Isabel Hovdahl and Mario Blázquez.

  • The value of green innovations

    The value of green innovations

    Although the development of new, green technology is crucial for reaching the ambitious emission targets in the Paris agreement, only a small share of investment in energy technology is currently going to renewable energy. To switch innovation efforts away from fossil fuel technologies, policy makers must increase the expected value of investing in green innovations.

    In this master thesis, the students will explore the value of green innovations by exploring patents on such innovations. A patent is a legal document that grants the holder of the patent exclusive right to the innovation described in the document for a limited period (usually 20 years). Patents also contain citations to all previous patents that are relevant for developing the innovation, and thus, patents offer a paper trail of how a technology has developed over time.

    Since we cannot directly observe innovations, patent counts have become a popular measure of both the magnitude of innovative activity, as well as the value of innovations. First, patents are not free, which means that only innovations that are perceived to be valuable will be patented. Second, the number of citations a patent receives is an indicator of the value that a specific patent has had for facilitating future innovations.

    The students will collect data on green patents from PATSTAT and use the rich information in the patents to explore the value of green innovations. Has green innovation become more valuable over time as the climate crisis has become more acute? What have been the most valuable types of green innovations? How has policy affected the speed and value of green innovations? And what has Norway's role been in promoting and developing green innovations?

    Supervisor: Isabel Hovdahl and Steffen Juranek.

  • Detailing the Value of Climate- and Environmental Surveillance on Sea food production

    Detailing the Value of Climate- and Environmental Surveillance on Sea food production

    What’s the cost-benefit for using an integrated climate and environment surveillance on seafood production? The student will assess the impact and values associated with using a detailed monitoring tool called Clarify, which currently is employed by many seafood producers. The student will be given access to unpublished data afforded by Clarify that can be directly compared to other chains of the seafood production, including feeding, fish welfare, loss to sickness and slaughter. Additional climate data can also be made available to the student depending on emerging needs. This Master opens for a relevant exploration of how monitoring can strengthen seafood sustainability and resilience to the changing climate conditions that remain the key premise for seafood production. The industry partner for this thesis is Clarify.

    Supervisor: Geir Drage Berentsen.

  • Optimal placement and impact of offshore wind parks

    Optimal placement and impact of offshore wind parks

    In this thesis, the students will use historical weather data to investigate the potential of Norwegian wind power in a scenario where all the current offshore locations suggested by the NVE are in full production. Alternative locations derived from optimizing production output are available and can be compared to the sites suggested by NVE. A secondary goal is to use the results to investigate the impact on the European energy market. The industry partner for this thesis is Statkraft.

    Supervisor: Geir Drage Berentsen.

  • The black swans of climate risk: Compound events

    The black swans of climate risk: Compound events

    Extreme weather events such as floods, heatwaves, droughts, and storms cause major economic losses to private and public sector alike. The latest IPCC report shows that the frequency, and to some extent the magnitude, of such events will continue to increase although there are exceptions. The probability of so-called ‘compound events’ – that two or more extreme events happen simultaneously or successively – will increase due to this ongoing trend.

    Such events carry even more extreme economic losses and play a crucial role in evaluating climate risk, but they are not well constrained nor understood. In 2018, there was elevated risk for snow-driven flooding in central Norway, which was followed by one of the warmest and driest summers on record, which coincided with several climatically induced forest fires. Based on both historical data and climate predictions, the students will evaluate the probability and potential economic consequences of compound events today and in the future and provide insights and advice for the insurance industry. The industry partner for this thesis is Tryg.

    Supervisor: Geir Drage Berentsen.

  • What are the optimal sites for future seafood production?

    What are the optimal sites for future seafood production?

    Wind conditions, sea currents, -temperature and -salinity are all important factors when considering new locations for ocean-based aquaculture facilities. Moreover, locations that are considered optimal today may not be suitable locations in the future due to climate change. In this thesis, the students will investigate the current optimal placements of aquaculture based on detailed historical data. By considering state of the art climate predictions, it can be investigated how these placements will change on different time horizons. The students should also discuss placement conflicts with fisheries and coastal shipping routes. The industry partner for this thesis is Clarify.

    Supervisor: Geir Drage Berentsen.

  • Economic impacts of climate change

    Economic impacts of climate change

    Many social and economic activities are heavily affected by weather variables such as temperatures and precipitation. In this master thesis, the students will explore the relationship between weather variables and economic decisions made by Norwegian households and/or businesses. In addition, the students will explore how climate change, through its effect on temperatures and precipitation, will affect these economic decisions into the future.

    Examples of relationships to explore are the effects of heatwaves on human mortality rates, extreme precipitation on agricultural production, or drought on hydropower production. The exploration can be either on the macro or micro level and can be in the form of either a statistical analysis or modelling exercise. For the prediction exercise, the students will have access to novel climate forecasts from the Climate Futures project. An interesting question to explore is how access to improved seasonal weather forecasts can mitigate the harmful economic impacts of climate change.

    Supervisor: Geir Drage Berentsen.

  • Analysis of catch data in Norwegian fisheries

    Analysis of catch data in Norwegian fisheries

    Organizing and analyzing data from the Norwegian directorate of fisheries.

    Supervisor: Arnt Ove Hopland.

  • Econometric analysis of the sales of new cars in Norway

    Econometric analysis of the sales of new cars in Norway

    Supervisor: Øyvind Thomassen.

    Contact: oyvind.thomassen@nhh.no.

    I have three data sets that you can use for the thesis: 1) price lists with car model variant and some technical characteristics, 2) new registrations of car model engine variants, by age and sex of the registered owner, 3) the annual rules for calculating the registration tax (engangsavgift). 

    For most uses, you will want to merge data sets 1) and 2). This will entail some tedious data work (probably using Stata or R), because of a lack of exact common identifiers. 

    The data go up to 2015, but it may be possible to obtain more recent data. 

    There are many questions that could be answered with the data, including saying something about the effect of the favorable tax treatment given to electric vehicles, which probably explains their large market share in Norway. 

    To choose this topic you must have taken a course in econometrics.

  • Econometric analysis of data from the government vehicle register

    Econometric analysis of data from the government vehicle register

    Supervisor: Øyvind Thomassen.

    Contact: oyvind.thomassen@nhh.no.

    Like my topic ‘Econometric analysis of the sales of new cars in Norway’, this topic is based on data on cars in Norway. However, for this topic, I currently do not have the data, but I believe they can be obtained from Statens Vegvesen (Norwegian Public Roads Administration). See information here: https://www.vegvesen.no/om-oss/om-organisasjonen/apne-data/api-for-kjoretoyopplysninger/utvidet-utlevering-av-kjoretoyopplysninger/

    My other topic uses data on the flow of new cars. This topic uses data on the stock of cars. The two data sources could conceivably be combined.

    Background from a course in econometrics is needed.

  • Natural resource extraction nearby: opportunity or concern for non-resource firms?

    Natural resource extraction nearby: opportunity or concern for non-resource firms?

    How does natural resource extraction such as oil&gas production affect nearby firms in other sectors, such as manufacturing and services? Potential agglomeration effects could benefit firms, but increased competition for labor or more corruption might harm firms. Since firms are the backbone of every modern economy, these considerations are crucial to understand whether natural resources are a blessing or a curse.

    Supervisor: Paul Pelzl.

  • Topics on Environmental Economics

    Topics on Environmental Economics

    Potential topics are:

    • Zero emissions (in shipping/buildings/road veh/airplanes): too much, or just right?
    • Certificates of Origin for Electricity; Stepchild or rising star?
    • A carbon cap for Norwegian farmers: Let forests do what cows and farmers cannot?
    • Carbon footprint and economic analysis for a firm/sector
    • Hydrogen: which part is failing: cars, hydrogen or filling and logistics
    • A new look at biomass and biofuels: can photosynthesis propel transport
    • Oceans in a sustainability strategy
    • Solar power: if a leap lies ahead, what can trigger it
    • Decentralized power generation in Norway: framework and business analysis
    • Renewable power in Norway: shall it expand, and with what instruments
    • A role for Norway as a battery for Europe’s intermittent power
    • A business analysis of Norway’s three proposed carbon capture and storage projects (cement, fertilizer, waste dump)
    • Analysis of emission reduction prospects in Norwegian transport
    • Econometric analysis of demand for energy (or carbon) intensive goods, transport
    • Forests: More wood and biomass in buildings: Economic analysis of climate prospects
    • Financial markets: is there evidence of ‘sin portfolios’ or ‘virtue’ (or green/fossil)? The value of fossil assets / promises in financial markets
    • Analysis of CO2 markets
    • Modeling energy exchange in Northern Europe

    Supervisor: Gunnar S. Eskeland.

  • Analysis of electric batteries and improvements in electricity networks

    Analysis of electric batteries and improvements in electricity networks

    In cooperation with ENOVA

    Contact: Gunnar Eskeland (NHH) and Børge Nilssen Stafne (ENOVA)

  • Logistics: improvements in efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions

    Logistics: improvements in efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions

    In cooperation with ENOVA

    Contact: Gunnar Eskeland (NHH) and Arnt Gunnar Lium (ENOVA)

  • Purchasing patterns for electrical vehicles: What matters? Environmental concern or egoistic economic incentives?

    Purchasing patterns for electrical vehicles: What matters? Environmental concern or egoistic economic incentives?

    Supervisor: Stein Ivar Steinshamn.

  • The petroleum industry in the Barents Sea and other vulnerable areas: environmental and economic analysis of the activity

    The petroleum industry in the Barents Sea and other vulnerable areas: environmental and economic analysis of the activity

    Supervisor: Stein Ivar Steinshamn.

  • Fossil fuel markets and management: Should the transition to renewable go through natural gas?

    Fossil fuel markets and management: Should the transition to renewable go through natural gas?

    Supervisor: Stein Ivar Steinshamn.

  • Electricity in the transport sector: Economic and environmental effects

    Electricity in the transport sector: Economic and environmental effects

    Supervisor: Stein Ivar Steinshamn.

  • Waste problems in the fashion industry in Norway: Oleana case

    Waste problems in the fashion industry in Norway: Oleana case

    In cooperation with Oleana

    Supervisor: Gunnar Eskeland

  • The future of fashion sustainability, customer behavior

    The future of fashion sustainability, customer behavior

    In cooperation with Oleana

    Supervisor: Gunnar Eskeland

  • Are there any economical/political motivations for sustainability in the fashion industry?

    Are there any economical/political motivations for sustainability in the fashion industry?

    In cooperation with Oleana

    Supervisor: Gunnar Eskeland

  • Shared economies: is there a future for the fashion industry?

    Shared economies: is there a future for the fashion industry?

    In cooperation with Oleana

    Supervisor: Gunnar Eskeland

  • Development and implementation of textile waste recycling, project case

    Development and implementation of textile waste recycling, project case

    In cooperation with Oleana

    Supervisor: Gunnar Eskeland

  • Regulation and benchmarking of natural monopolies in the energy sector

    Regulation and benchmarking of natural monopolies in the energy sector

    Supervisors: Endre Bjørndal and Mette Bjørndal.

  • Pricing and congestion management in wholesale electricity markets

    Pricing and congestion management in wholesale electricity markets

    Supervisors: Endre Bjørndal and Mette Bjørndal.

  • Integration of renewable energy sources in electricity markets

    Integration of renewable energy sources in electricity markets

    Supervisors: Endre Bjørndal and Mette Bjørndal.

  • Local flexibility markets and demand response in the electricity sector

    Local flexibility markets and demand response in the electricity sector

    Supervisors: Endre Bjørndal and Mette Bjørndal.

  • Integration of regional electricity markets and use of HVDC interconnectors

    Integration of regional electricity markets and use of HVDC interconnectors

    Supervisors: Endre Bjørndal and Mette Bjørndal.

  • European integration of intraday and balancing markets

    European integration of intraday and balancing markets

    Supervisors: Endre Bjørndal and Mette Bjørndal.

  • Sustainable energy and development

    Sustainable energy and development

    Around the world, the governments are imple- menting policies to foster the introduction of renewable energy. In that context, there are different research questions to develop in a master thesis that could contribute to develop a sustainable economic system.

    1. Which will be the relation between renewable energy and hydrogen?
    2. Which are the policies introduced in cities to reduce carbon emissions?
    3. Which will be the impact of the adoption of renewable energy in women unemploy- ment? Could the introduction of renewable energy increase the gender gap?
    4. Which will be the changes in the design of electricity markets induced by the intro- duction of renewable energy?
    5. Which is the relation between hydrogen and lithium batteries? Which is the best way to store electricity in the short-term and in the long-term?
    6. Which policies could be implemented to promote energy effciency?
    7. How do the electricity grid need to change to accommodate renewable energy?

    Supervisor: Mario Blazques de Paz

  • Transmission constraints

    Transmission constraints

    Electricity markets are moving through the integration around the world. Moreover, the countries are increasing their investments in renewable production capacity to fulfil with the agreements in carbon emission reductions. In that context, the transmission grid plays a crucial role promoting the integration of electricity markets and accommodating the renewable production capacity into the system. In re- lation with this topic, there are different research questions that could be of interest to develop a master thesis.

    1. Which should be design of electricity markets in the presence of transmission con- straints.
    2. Could the integration of electricity markets in Europe increase competition? Which will be the impact of that integration in the investments in transmission capacity, and in renewable production capacity?
    3. Which should be the relation between the spot and the redispatch market when the transmission lines are congested? How we can design those markets to increase com- petition?
    4. How should the regulator design transmission tariffs to guarantee investments in trans- mission capacity, and transmission effciency?

    Supervisor: Mario Blazques de Paz