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Linking a storyline with multiple models : a cross-scale study of the UK power system transition

Trutevyte, Evelina and Barton, John and O'Grady, Áine and Ogunkunle, Damiete and Pudjianto, Danny and Robertson, Elizabeth (2014) Linking a storyline with multiple models : a cross-scale study of the UK power system transition. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 89. pp. 26-42. ISSN 0040-1625

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Abstract

State-of-the-art scenario exercises in the energy and environment fields argue for combining qualitative storylines with quantitative modelling. This paper proposes an approach for linking a highly detailed storyline with multiple, diverse models. This approach is illustrated through a cross-scale study of the UK power system transition until 2050. The storyline, called Central Co-ordination, is linked with insights from six power system models and two appraisal techniques. First, the storyline is 'translated' into harmonised assumptions on power system targets for the models. Then, a new concept called the landscape of models is introduced. This landscape helps to map the key fields of expertise of individual models, including their temporal, spatial and disciplinary foci. The storyline is then assessed based on the cross-scale modelling results. While the storyline is important for transmitting information about governance and the choices of key actors, many targets aspired in it are inconsistent with modelling results. The storyline overestimates demand reduction levels, uptake of marine renewables and irreplaceability of carbon capture and storage. It underestimates the supply–demand balancing challenge, the need for back-up capacity and the role of nuclear power and interconnectors with Europe. Thus, iteratively linking storylines and models is key.