ESME Data References Book
Published: 14 June 2019


Energy Systems Catapult offers expertise in National Energy System Modelling and Analysis, which draws on the internationally peer reviewed Energy System Modelling Environment (ESME) tool to inform and support energy strategy and planning policy for Government and industry.

ESME is a least-cost optimisation model designed to explore technology options for a carbon constrained energy system, subject to additional constraints around energy security, peak energy demand and more.

The Catapult maintains and uses under license the ESME model which was originally developed by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), an industry and government funded research institute into low carbon energy system planning and technology development to address UK energy and climate change targets. Over the last decade through ETI investment, ESME has developed into one of the most powerful energy system models for the UK, with the outputs and insights from the modelling used across a variety of contexts.

ESME covers the power, transport, buildings and industry sectors, and the infrastructure that underpins them, in five year time-steps from 2010 to 2050.

Key points

Energy Systems Catapult is now be using version ESME 4.5, however our whole systems modelling tool is in continuous development, with future updates set to include enhanced energy storage analysis, greater detail on hydrogen for heat, and extension of the time horizon beyond 2050.

  • The purpose of this document is to provide visibility of which sources have been used to populate the ESME datasets and to show how the ESME dataset is built on a foundation of strong evidence.
  • The main body of this document catalogues the sources used as underlying evidence for the data in the ESME model. This information takes the form of references to the outputs of technology projects and/or third party published papers.
  • Note that this document does not contain the final numerical values in the ESME dataset. The ESME dataset itself is published separately.
  • For users of the ESME model, this document can be read alongside the ESME User Manual, and gives further guidance on appropriate ways to modify the data, e.g. in areas where a user holds alternative views or has access to alternative data sources.
  • Last but not least, it also provides a mechanism to improve the quality of the data used in the ESME model. The Catapult works hard to maintain the data it uses in its energy analysis, to keep it up to date and joined up with the best available information from projects and reports. Nevertheless it is easy to fall behind, especially in the areas where Catapult does not have information from its own projects. Any reader who spots a technology for which there is more recent, or better quality, data available than that cited is encouraged to contact Catapult with suggestions. Contact details are given on the ESC website (please include “ESME” in the email subject).