Applying whole systems thinking to integrate the physical, market, digital and policy systems for a Net Zero future

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Accelerating the integration of the whole energy system for Net Zero

Transforming the UK energy system to be clean, secure and affordable requires integrating and optimising solutions and innovations from a range of previously separate systems including power, heat, transport, and communications.

Systems Integration is a key component of Systems Engineering, helping to ensure whole system solutions are considered from different perspectives – from technology to people, policies, regulation, business models and market mechanisms.

Integration helps develop approaches, tools, frameworks, methods and skills that support the full life-cycle of an integrated system solution. When applied, we can examine how previously separate systems and operating models can work together with new innovations to deliver integrated, mutually supportive systems, with an appropriate balance between opportunity and risk, considering the views of all relevant parties, and managing the inevitable conflict between them.

Energy Systems Catapult works with government, academia and industry in helping to organise and integrate the physical, informational, operational and economic components of the energy system.

Whole Systems approach

Identify and address Whole System issues, across technology, people, policies, regulation, business models and markets.

Integrating old and new

Enable new and existing solutions to function as a coherent and effective whole.

Considering different perspectives

Ensure focus and balance is applied to stakeholder needs.

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How to work with us

Energy Systems Catapult provides technical, commercial and policy expertise to drive innovation across the whole energy system.

Our independent and technology-agnostic approach, has built a trusted track record in delivering thought leadership, collaborative R&D and commercial commissioning.

Providing a range of capabilities, tools and labs – from world class Net Zero modelling and cutting-edge systems engineering – through to digital and data science and real-world innovation trials that drive start-ups to success.

Commission us

Supporting energy companies and networks, industrial sites and commercial businesses to navigate to Net Zero.

Collaborate with us

Supporting government, local authorities and innovators to create the new policies, markets, business models and technologies we need to deliver Net Zero.

Case Studies

Cost Reflective Pricing

The Cost Reflective Pricing project investigated whether or not the fixed costs on energy bills – for network, environmental and social costs – are efficiently distributed between the standing charge and unit (per kWh) price of electricity and gas tariffs.

With these fixed costs currently recovered from the unit price, this means consumers that use more energy will pay more for the same fixed costs.

The study found that overall consumers are:

  • Under-charged for the fixed costs of making energy supply available and over-charged for the units of energy they consume;
  • Consumers with household generation technologies (such as solar PV) will buy fewer units of energy from the grid, so under-paid their fair share of fixed costs. Which must then be recovered in the bills of other consumers, including those in fuel poverty, increasing others energy bills.
  • Consumers with household demand technologies (such as heat pumps) will buy more units of energy from the grid, so over-paid their fair share of fixed costs recovered in the unit price.

The Cost Reflective Pricing study found that rebalancing fixed and volumetric charges into the standing and unit prices respectively and moving environmental and social costs to general taxation, would more recover fixed costs more efficiently. As a result, the marginal cost of operating a heat pump would be lower than a gas boiler.

Following this study, Ofgem made some initial changes to charging consistent with the argument that network charges should have a larger fixed component and a smaller per kWh charge.

Commission us

Helping businesses take a systematic approach to managing risk, lowering costs and accelerating the integration of Net Zero innovations.

Contact us