UCL Energy Institute


Spatially detailed optimisation modelling of UK heat network potential


8 July 2015

The electrification of heat demand using decarbonised grid electricity has emerged as a core theme in UK energy policy, but how far and how fast such a strategy can be implemented remains subject to uncertainty. As a result, alternative technology vectors for decarbonising heat remain under active consideration by policymakers. The role of heat networks is considered to be potentially important in many UK policy analysis studies, although estimates of the total levels in 2050 that would be economically optimal to deploy vary extremely widely. This paper describes a comparison of UK heat network potential using two different techno-economic optimisation models: the UK energy system model ETI ESME (Energy Technologies Institute Energy System Modelling Environment) and a spatially detailed parameterised engineering cost model, SEDSO (Settlement Energy Demand Supply Optimiser). Results show that utility-scale electric heat pumps fed by decarbonised electricity and the improved utilisation of power station heat both emerge as important technologies for provision of networked heat supply, but differ in the total levels of cost optimal deployment. A cross comparison of model outputs and their structural features highlights the complexities surrounding efforts to represent the future geography of regional approaches to heat decarbonisation in policy analyses.

Spatially detailed optimisation modelling of UK heat network potential. The 3rd Sustainable Thermal Energy Management Conference (SusTEM 2015) Newcastle, UK.

Li, F.G.N. (2015)

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