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Integrating gas and electricity vectors in future energy scenarios with the 2050 Energy Pathfinder Model

Delta-ee recently supported Wales & West Utilities’ strategic work looking into the future role of gas in the UK as part of an integrated cross-vector energy system. We helped Wales &West Utilities develop a new generation of their 2050 Energy Pathfinder Model that assesses the impact of different future energy mixes on the balance of electricity and gas supply and demand for any size population in the UK. The main objectives of the rebuild were to critically review the methodology and assumptions, streamline the model methodology, and improve the model’s user interface.

The model simulates hourly supply and demand profiles for gas and electricity across a defined region for a sample year. Together with existing sources and demands, new sources such as tidal barrage, and demands such as EVs are included, alongside fuel switching between the electricity and gas vectors (for example, using hybrid heat pumps). This enables a range of storage, demand response and new technology innovations to be simulated. The model outputs the following results:

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What will electric vehicle take-off mean for the electricity sector?

At the most simplistic level an answer is “more demand for electricity? Hooray!”

Peel back the layers of the onion (in this case a big juicy onion) a little more, and you might have some more detailed answers.

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Fear or greed? What’s the stronger motivation for energy retailers to develop their storage propositions?

Energy storage has been the hot topic in the distributed energy industry since Tesla made its move into stationary storage a couple of years ago.  As is often the case with ‘new’ technology, the headlines and the hype has been quite far ahead of the reality.

The reality in Europe today is that behind-the-meter (BTM) battery storage markets remain very small in most countries.  Market growth is mainly concentrated in just three countries: Germany, Italy and the UK.  And Germany is easily the biggest market – it accounts for over 90% of the total European market.  So the impact to date on most European energy retailers is very limited.

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