EPSRC - Distributed Ledger Technologies

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Bartlett Sch of Env, Energy & Resources

Abstract

Great Britain is committed to achieving net-zero emissions targets by 2050. Doing this requires social, technical, economic and environmental analyses of the whole energy system and including considerable scaling up of wind and solar generation. This increase in intermittent generation is crucial to meeting 2050 targets, but poses major challenges to the engineering stability and economic sustainability of the whole energy system. This research project builds a whole system model capturing the techno-economic sustainability of high penetrations of intermittent renewables in the UK energy system. It explicitly represents uncertainties arising from the interaction between renewable technologies and Great Britain's electricity markets and the impact of this on the sustainability of future renewable generation technologies.

There has been previous research into the uncertainties in the electricity system arising from intermittent generation in the electricity system. However, Great Britain's current policy is for private capital markets to develop additional wind and solar generation capacity, and little of the existing research has considered the effect of this uncertainty from the perspective of private investors. Such research, into the perception and tolerance of uncertainty by capital providers, is crucial to ensure the required investment. This research project therefore intends to consider the electricity system's uncertainties from this perspective.

The thesis will consider a broad range of uncertainties, social, technical, economic and environmental in nature. These uncertainties include anticipated improvements in generation and storage technologies with accompanying cost reductions, and uncertainties related to weather patterns. There are also uncertainties related to government policy, consumer behaviour and investment decisions. The research project will develop a transparent quantitative model, that allows interested parties to understand the effect of these uncertainties on electricity generation, emissions, and wholesale prices. It will go beyond much of the existing research by also modelling the impact of these uncertainties on investment return and sustainability.

The model inputs will apply methods new to the whole energy systems engineering field through integration of data from theory, trials, expert elicitation and financial markets on uncertainties into techno-economic models. The expert elicitation will include material gathered semi-structured interviews of industry professionals who have experience forming expectations and uncertainty assessments for wind and solar generators. These interviews are intended to get a clearer understanding of which uncertainties are likely to be most critical, which can be used to inform researchers and policy-makers. It may also have a secondary benefit in identifying uncertainties which can be cost-effectively mitigated in order to more easily attract capital on an ongoing basis.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R513143/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2023
2092015 Studentship EP/R513143/1 01/10/2018 15/09/2022 Guy Lipman