Multiscale Modelling to maximise Demand Side Management (Part 2)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Economics

Abstract

Modern energy systems are complex technical, social and economic endeavours formed through the assembly of a broad set of elements and shaped by the actions of many multiple actors including consumers, suppliers and regulators. While some gains can be achieved by optimising parts of these systems, significant reduction in energy demand is a major challenge requiring changes in behaviour from all the actors involved. In this proposal we wish to exploit the ability of digital technologies to monitor, model and represent the operation and effects of energy demand to promote changes in these systems. This is often realised through a set of actions and measures, commonly known as demand side management (DSM). Current approaches to DSM and reduction of energy demand, however, are often viewed entirely from the consumer's perspective, concentrating mostly on the importance of behavioural changes and the role of energy displays (or smart meters ) as main drivers of these changes. This emphasises only one part of modern and increasingly complex energy systems, which actually need to be understood in their entirety to ensure that changes will have both significant and sustainable impact. Accordingly, this proposal adopts an end-to-end approach to exploit digital technology to understand the overall energy supply system (from generation to transmission, distribution and utilisation), in which devised changes are targeted at the points of maximum impact and all involved system elements are fully optimised to reap the benefits of these changes.The ultimate aim of our research is to answer how the significant potential benefits of DSM can be maximised through the provision of a unified, versatile and affordable digital infrastructure that allows us to reason across a whole energy system and supports new ways to exchange information between dynamic multiscale DSM models. The expected outcome is access to, and presentation of, not just quantitative information (e.g. the amount of modified active/reactive power demands), but also qualitative information (e.g. what are the actual load mixes and load sectors responsible for the changes in demand and what are their definite effects) to all involved stakeholders. In particular, we wish to link the use of modern digital technologies, capable of impacting the behaviour of the consumers, with the ability to optimally respond to the resulting changes in energy demand. The project team brings together researchers with a background in ubiquitous computing, complex systems modelling and user centred development to work with researcher focusing of real world energy systems and energy economics. We will adopt a user driven approach to the design and development of a series of computational models and digital technologies working closely with consumers, energy supply companies and government bodies to explore a set of exciting state-of-the-art innovations based on low-cost sensing and display technologies. The project team has strong connections with key industrial, public sector and academic groups in UK and internationally, and these will be used to ensure that the proposed research will have maximum impact. Free access to any developed system to promote change, and a publicly accessible web site will be maintained for the dissemination of the results. We intend to make any software artefacts and device designs available via open source distribution through the Horizon DE Hub. We will build upon our existing public dissemination work to emphasise issues of ethics and societal impact as important features of this work.
 
Description This provided the first system-wide analysis of the likely economic and environmental impact of the roll out of smart meters, generating an increase in efficiency in electricity consumption. While higher substitution among fuels in household energy consumption increases the rebound, and the risk of backfire, it may also reduce overall emissions.

DECC's projections of offshore wind capacity are conducted in a model that neglects wider economy-energy-enviornment interaction. In the other paper we establish that DECC's learning rate assumptions about offshore wind technology is in itself insufficient to ensure the targets are met. However, despite the economic expansion resulting from technological improvements in the offshore wind electricity generating sector, overall emissions fall, as the electricity mix becomes less fossil-fuel intensive.
Exploitation Route Both in the analysis of smart meters and the projections for offshore wind the nature and rate of learning rates proves crucial. We are undertaking a systematic treatment of this in an explicitly system-wide context, contrasting the conventional engineering model of learning with that embodied in endogenous growth models. A number of additional outputs are planned.
Sectors Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice

 
Description The results of our smart meter paper were picked up by the Herald newspaper.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Energy,Environment
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Finance Committee (11 April 2014) on likely scenarios for Scottish Public Finances post-indyref
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
Impact The Finance Committee was investigating the likely impact of changes in powers, including independence, would have on taxation, borrowing, public sector debt and fiscal rules. In the words of the committee's convenor, Kenneth Gibson MSP, "Our evidence sessions will provide a vital platform for debate and clarity on some of the most important financial issues at the forefront of the Scottish public's mind. That is why we have invited respected experts in the fields of taxation, debt and pensions to share their views on what Scotland's public finances will look like after 2014."
URL http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/newsandmediacentre/75333.aspx
 
Description Analysis article for the Herald 10 June 2015: There are two sides to the debate about using extra fiscal powers 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Asked to write an op-ed article for the Herald newspaper on the subject of the frequently suggested Scandinavian model for Scottish public finances. The Herald has a readership of over 30,000, including key decision makers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/13412228.There_are_two_sides_to_the_debate_about_using_extra_f...
 
Description Blog for Centre on Constitutional Change Website (5 December 2013): Would Scotland be wealthier under independence 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The issue of economic benefit or cost has been identified as the single largest determining factor influencing people's vote in the Scottish Independence Referendum. The blog had a readership in the tens of thousands in the lead up to the referendum, including key decision makers and influencers. A request for further information was subsequently received from the Scottish Labour Party.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.centreonconstitutionalchange.ac.uk/blog/would-scotland-be-wealthier-under-independence
 
Description Blog on the Centre on Constitutional Change's Website (19 March 2014) - Devolution Commission reflections: Proposals for Taxation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Labour Party's Devolution Commission produced two key recommendations on taxation. This blog reflected on how those powers would (or could) work. Te debate subsequently began to address these issues - what would greater devolution, as opposed to independence, look like. Subsequent events have given added significance to commentary at that time. This was one of several outputs that placed the centre at the heart of the debate and led to enormous interest in our work from the domestic and international media, the policy community and all of the UK's parliaments and governments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.centreonconstitutionalchange.ac.uk/blog/devolution-commission-reflections-proposals-taxat...
 
Description Blog post on the Centre on Constitutional Change's website (8 May 2014): Evaluating new tax powers in the event of a no vote 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The question of what a 'post-No' Scotland would look like was one that was only addressed in the very late stages of the campaign but which subsequently had a huge impact on the process of devolution. This blog was posted on the Centre's site which analytics tell us is widely read by the policy and political community.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.centreonconstitutionalchange.ac.uk/blog/evaluating-new-tax-powers-event-no-vote
 
Description Chapter in an e-book '16 Questions' regarding Indyref, which received 100.000 downloads 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The '16 Questions' ebook was a collaboration with the Tom hunter Foundation and was distributed through the websites of the Sunday Times, the Centre on Constitutional Change and the foundation itself. This chapter focused on what independence would mean for energy markets.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.centreonconstitutionalchange.ac.uk/blog/scotlands-decision-business-and-competition
 
Description News reports of "Scotland's Future: the Economics of Constitutional Change" - 30 March 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact In the words of Douglas Fraser, BBC Scotland's Economics Editor, "So it's with impeccable timing that a mighty tome dropped this week, and with a thud: 330 pages of book called "Scotland's Future: the Economics of Constitutional Change", providing a guide to the economic dimensions of the big choice facing Scotland on 18 September 2014."
This was a significant contribution to the debate and reported extensively in the specialist and general media. The publication led to inquiries from the media.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-21980770
 
Description Public Event (26 April 2014) - What happens if Scotland votes no? 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This was one of a pair of events - nicknamed 'If Yes' and 'If No'. There was, naturally, intense scrutiny of the first of those possibilities but the aim of this event was to address the question of what would happen in the event of a No vote. Obviously, in the light of subsequent events, this was the more prescient of the two. Although this was open to the general public, there was an impressive attendance from the policy and media communities at the event, which helped lay the foundations for subsequent engagement activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.centreonconstitutionalchange.ac.uk/events/what-happens-if-scotland-votes-no
 
Description Public Event (30/11/2013): Exploring independence after the White Paper 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The publication of the Scottish Government's blueprint for an independent Scotland on the 26th inevitably raised questions in the minds of the policy community, the general public and the media. This one-day event was one of the first to bring academic expertise to bear on the proposals that would come to dominate the independence debate. Subsequent follow up from influencers and decision makers suggests that this event was widely appreciated.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.centreonconstitutionalchange.ac.uk/events/exploring-independence-after-white-paper