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The economics of distributed energy generation : a literature review

Allan, Grant and Eromenko, Igor and Gilmartin, Michelle and Kockar, Ivana and McGregor, Peter (2014) The economics of distributed energy generation : a literature review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 42. pp. 543-556. ISSN 1364-0321

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Abstract

The UK electricity system is likely to face dramatic technical and institutional changes in the near future. Current UK energy policy focuses on the need for a clean, affordable and secure energy supply. Decentralisation of the electricity system is recognised as one means of achieving efficient and renewable energy provision, as well as addressing concerns over ageing electricity infrastructure and capacity constraints. In this paper we provide a critical literature review of the economics of increased penetration of distributed energy generation. We find that there exists a large volume of research considering the financial viability of individual distributed generation technologies (and we are necessarily selective in our review of these studies, given the wide variety of technologies that the definition of distributed generation encompasses). However, there are few studies that focus on the pure economics of individual or groups of distributed energy generators, and even fewer still based on the economy-wide aspects of distributed generation. In view of this gap in the literature, we provide suggestions for future research which are likely to be necessary in order adequately to inform public policy on distributed generation and its role in the future of UK energy supply.