UK consortium explores flexible energy system to achieve 2050 net-zero goal


In the UK, the Carbon Trust has partnered with Imperial College to launch a project that will investigate the role of a flexible energy system in achieving a net-zero economy.

The Flexibility in Great Britain project will explore the potential for an integrated and flexible energy system to reduce the cost of reaching the UK’s net-zero economy goal by 2050.

In-depth analysis based on modeling, research, and stakeholder interviews will be conducted to investigate how different sources of flexibility across the heat, transport, and power sectors can reduce overall system costs to consumers.

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Business models required to deliver an integrated flexible energy system will also be explored.

The pilot is based on Carbon Trust reports from 2016 which states that the cost of a future energy system in Great Britain could be reduced by £40 billion with greater flexibility and the implementation of storage.

The results of the pilot will be released in early 2021 to help stakeholders within the energy industry to develop roadmaps that help them achieve their net zero commitments, heat decarbonisation and the rapid transition to low emission transport options.

The consortium will engage with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Ofgem, the Committee on Climate Change, the National Infrastructure Commission, and National Grid throughout the project.

Imperial College London will lead on advanced energy systems modeling.

Other project partners include Bryt Energy, EDF Energy, the Greater London Authority, the Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers, SBM Offshore, Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks, SP Energy Networks, Statera Energy, UK Power Networks, and Western Power Distribution.

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Andrew Lever, Director at the Carbon Trust, said: “Significant action and investment are required to transition our energy system to help achieve net zero emissions for the UK economy by 2050. As the focus moves towards the decarbonisation of heat and transport sectors, it is essential that new sources of flexibility are explored to ensure the shift to net zero is achieved at lowest cost.

“This update to our previous work aims to create a robust evidence base that energy system stakeholders and policymakers can use to plan and invest confidently and efficiently. We are delighted that it is being supported by such a large number of organisations across the energy sector and beyond.”