Transforming the UK energy system to meet carbon reduction targets will require emerging innovations and solutions to be integrated and optimised across a range of previously separate systems including power, heat, transport, and across the physical, market and digital communications systems.
Driven by the decarbonisation, decentralisation, digitalisation, and democratisation of the energy system, current infrastructure, business models and market arrangements will need to adapt and evolve as new low carbon technology, smart devices, changes in value ﬂow, and challenging shifts in supply and demand take hold.
To take the right path to this integrated and optimised future UK energy system, decisions will need to be made from a whole system perspective.
The Challenge and Opportunity
However currently this is challenging, because:
- Established models and tools for understanding the implications of new policies or technologies, for example, penetrations of low carbon generation, electric vehicles and smart appliances are not future proofed against more complex and disruptive whole system changes;
- There are no existing models and tools in the energy sector that can explore and evaluate the impacts of new market arrangements and business models interacting with the physical infrastructure through the exchange of data via digital solutions – particularly looking at possible future scenarios;
- Traditional trials to test new market structures are limited in their scope because they are only relevant for the location, time, people, market and policies in which the trial is situated.
EnergyPath® Operations is a first-of-a-kind Whole Systems simulation tool developed by Energy Systems Catapult to analyse the behaviour of potential future energy system designs or architectures.
This enables assessments to be carried out on system design choices and technologies, business models and information technology solutions, enabling a quicker and cheaper process than real world trials for understanding where design changes need to be made.
The EPO tool provides a way to evaluate the demands on the capacity of physical assets and information systems, as well as the profitability of business models and shared societal considerations such as carbon emissions and consumer well-being.