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Time-step analysis of the DECC 2050 Calculator pathways

Barton, J; McKenna, E; Thomson, M; (2017) Time-step analysis of the DECC 2050 Calculator pathways. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part A: Journal of Power and Energy , 231 (6) pp. 551-579. 10.1177/0957650917704993. Green open access

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Abstract

An hour-by-hour time-step analysis is presented of United Kingdom electricity grid balancing in low-carbon energy pathways from the DECC 2050 Calculator. The detailed modelling uses the future energy scenario assessment (FESA) tool, which uses real weather data and real electricity demand data from year 2001 to model future supply and demand profiles, suitably adjusted to reflect technology uptakes. The paper describes the linking of the DECC 2050 Calculator with FESA and many of the detailed considerations within the modelling. The calculation of net demand (total demand less intermittent renewables and inflexible portions of other electricity generation) reveals the magnitude and duration of peaks and troughs throughout the year and this allows quantification of required peaking plant, energy storage, demand response or a combination of these. The results indicate that the grid balancing challenge is much greater than is apparent from the DECC 2050 Calculator, with significant excess power from renewables and less flexible generators needing to be exported or curtailed, and, at other times of the year, a significant amount of additional conventional generation being required. FESA also indicates significantly lower capacity factors for despatchable generators than indicated in the DECC 2050 Calculator. The results underline the value of energy storage and flexible demand, particularly in the high-renewables pathways, but also that much of that storage and flexibility needs to be available for days or even weeks rather than hours.

Type: Article
Title: Time-step analysis of the DECC 2050 Calculator pathways
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0957650917704993
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1177/0957650917704993
Language: English
Additional information: © IMechE 2017.This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Low-carbon transition pathways, scenarios, renewable energy, demand side management, energy storage, grid balancing, energy security, time step modelling, model integration
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10048059
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