ESME Whole Systems modelling tool receives update

Published: 18 February 2019

Last week we released an updated version of our internationally peer-reviewed Energy Systems Modelling Environment (ESME) tool, incorporating new data on electricity and heat generating capacity, insights on storage and flexibility, and updates to the network and the Graphical User Interface.

We may 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.

For the UK perspective, Energy System Catapult work using ESME for the Energy Technologies Institute on pathways to decarbonisation “Options, Choices, Actions: How could the UK be low carbon by 2050?” describes two cost-optimised decarbonisation pathways for the UK energy system to meet its 2050 climate targets. 

  • Clockwork: Well co-ordinated centrally planned long-term energy infrastructure;
  • Patchwork: A series of distinct regional energy strategies (eventually integrated by central government).

Our analysis summarised in Figure 2 indicates that key technology priorities for the UK energy system include carbon capture and storage (CCS), bioenergy, new nuclear, offshore wind, and improved efficiency of vehicles and efficiency/heat provision for buildings.


The analysis also illustrates the importance of appropriate central government policies to leverage private sector’s investment to address our climate change challenges – a sentiment echoed at the recent World Economic Forum.

If you would like more information on ESME, please contact modellingteam@es.catapult.org.uk.