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Members of wholeSEM contribute to new report from Royal Academy of Engineering warning that UK energy system update is almost out of time

23 October 2015

Sand pours in hourglass closeup © AnyVidStudio

A new report from the Royal Academy of Engineering published today warns that time is rapidly running out to make the crucial planning decisions and secure investment to keep the UK on track to deliver a reliable, affordable and decarbonised energy system to meet future emissions regulation enshrined in the 2008 Climate Change Act. wholeSEM'S Co-Investigator Professor Nigel Gilbert was part of the working group that produced the report 'A critical time for UK energy policy' for the Prime Minister's Council for Science and Technology with other members of the consortium interviewed as part of the study. The report details the actions needed now to create a secure and affordable low carbon energy system for 2030 and beyond.

The study looks at the future evolution of the UK’s energy system in the short to medium term. It considers how the system is expected to develop across a range of possible trajectories identified through modelling and scenarios.

The following actions for government are identified as a matter of urgency:
• enable local or regional whole-system, large scale pilot projects to establish real-world examples of how the future system will work. These must move beyond  current single technology demonstrators and include all aspects of the energy systems along with consumer behaviour and financial mechanisms
• drive forward new capacity in the three main low carbon electricity generating technologies: nuclear, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and offshore wind
• develop policies to accelerate demand reduction, especially in domestic heating, and introduce smarter demand management
• clarify and stabilise market mechanisms and incentives in order to give industry the confidence to invest.

Through the development of critical energy modelling capacity wholeSEM aims to integrate whole energy systems modelling approaches across disciplinary boundaries to provide a fundamental underpinning role for the UK’s national strategic energy modelling activity.

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