Balancing Supply and Demand

Published: 7 November 2019

Introduction

Energy Systems Catapult has launched a new whole energy system modelling tool to provide the most comprehensive view to date on how storage and flexibility technologies could help the UK decarbonise at least cost.

Called the Storage and Flexibility Model (SFM), it was built to address a collective lack of knowledge about the extent of the role storage and flexibility could play in the future.

Storage technologies, such as hot water tanks and batteries, are predicted to become a more integral part of the future energy system. As demand for electricity is expected to see a big rise, these technologies will help ensure networks can cope and allow homes and businesses to avoid peak times when energy is more expensive.

This report focusses on the experience gained from running the SFM, articulates what the tool can be used for, and the best ways of using it.

Key Points

  • The SFM fills a space in the current energy system modelling landscape and allows valuable insights about the future role of storage and flexibility to be drawn.
  • The SFM’s uniqueness lies in its ability to represent multiple vectors, network levels, geographic regions and timeframes; including sub-hourly system services.
  • The insights gained are applicable to many use-cases including long-term capacity planning, assessing the value of specific storage technologies, and identifying the system service requirements of future energy systems.
  • The SFM is different but complementary to the Energy System Modelling Environment (ESME) which provides less detail relating to storage but more expeditiously explores the rest of the energy system.
  • Early indicative runs of the model found that a least-cost 2050 energy system is likely to require significantly more electric and thermal energy storage than previously thought.

To find out more about Storage and Flexibility Modelling, click here.