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Workshop Exploring Qualitative Uncertainty in UK Decarbonisation Pathways 

10 October 2017

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The Whole Systems Energy Modelling Consortium (wholeSEM) hosted this one-day workshop in conjunction with the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) on Thursday, 14 September 2017. The workshop was attended by a range of experts and stakeholders with a view to informing, developing and using the outputs of energy models to inform.

The workshop explored qualitative uncertainties in modelling. While the focus is often on quantitative aspects, there are importance uncertainty dimensions that are non-quantifiable, relating to, for example, the methodological rigour of modelling approaches, value ladeness of analyst choices, and the theoretical understanding of processes represented. This uncertainty is located in parameters, model structure, and analysis context, but largely ignored.

The workshop used a structured approach, NUSAP1, to explore some of these issues, while using the ESME model2 as a case study with a view to gaining broader insights for how models are developed and applied, particularly for policy, given the range of qualitative uncertainties.

1 For example, see Van Der Sluijs, J.P., Craye, M., Funtowicz, S., Kloprogge, P., Ravetz, J., Risbey, J., 2005. Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Measures of Uncertainty in Model-Based Environmental Assessment: The NUSAP System. Risk Anal. 25, 481–492.

2 See Heaton, C., 2014. Modelling Low-Carbon Energy System Designs with the ETI ESME Model.