Net Zero South Wales - Cross Vector Scenarios
|Funding mechanism||Network Innovation Allowance (NIA)|
|Duration||Mar 2020 - Jun 2020|
|Research area||Transition to Low Carbon Future|
1. Develop a process and methodology by which both gas and electricity network operators can conduct local level joint scenario planning in a region or licence area. This would include identifying shared definitions and building shared operational understanding, geographical areas, approaches to assessing the evolution of energy generation and supply, along with changes in demand and flexibility.
2. Understand the impacts of a set of net zero carbon pathways on the distribution network, within a single licence area.
The UK energy system is going through a significant transition as it moves towards a more decentralised and net-zero carbon energy system. Renewable and other low-carbon technologies are expected to dominate the future system, which will also feature widespread “smarter” new technologies.
Already the growth of decentralised electricity generation has led to local and regional network constraints, meaning electricity network operators have needed to become more proactive and sophisticated in how they plan for, and manage, future network connections.
In 2019, the UK government legislated to commit to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. This landmark legislation is a significant increase from the 80% commitment made in the original Climate Change Act. It will require a far faster and deeper transformation than previously anticipated, and has implications for how distribution scenario processes are conducted, increasing the need for cross-vector planning and solutions.
Although the future will be increasingly multi-vector, there is no defined or inherent process for cross-vector network planning at licence area and local level. For example, network and geographical areas used in single vector planning do not currently align as they are conceived to address specific network infrastructure and operation in gas and electricity. There is currently no detailed understanding of the net zero implications on energy networks at a licence area and distribution network level, including understanding the uncertainties and interaction between multi-vector technologies (such as hydrogen).
The project comprises of five stages:
Stage 1: Project clarification and baseline/pipeline data collation.
Stage 2: Extend and harmonise South Wales projection models.
Stage 3: Frame a high-level UK net-zero 2050 scenario.
Stage 4: Model net zero outcomes in South Wales to 2050.
Stage 5: Distribute net-zero sensitivity pathways geographically.