Emissions based simulation to evaluate long-term low carbon transition pathways for the UK gas and electricity infrastructure

Barnacle, M. and Alarcon-Rodriguez, A. and Ault, G.W. and Galloway, S. (2009) Emissions based simulation to evaluate long-term low carbon transition pathways for the UK gas and electricity infrastructure. In: The 44th International Universities' Power Engineering Conference, 2009-09-01 - 2009-09-04.

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Abstract

A major transition to a low carbon electricity and energy generation system is anticipated. Technical and institutional change is required for the UK Government to reach its target of an 80% reduction in CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions by 2050, and a 20% reduction by 2020. The energy infrastructure requires investment, and re-design, to continue to meet predicted UK demand whilst aiding in a reduction in CO2 emissions and improving supply security. Four outline transition pathways have been developed that depict a diverse range of realistic predictions for the transition of the UK gas and electricity infrastructure to a low carbon economy from 2008 until 2052. This paper focuses on evaluating future CO2 emission reductions in the UK electricity grid, out to 2052, from one of the pathways entitled 'Market Rules'. Results are given for future trends in CO2 emissions from 2003 to 2052. Future CO2 intensities, measured in g/kWh, are also analysed. Findings of this work indicate that a large reduction in CO2 emissions is possible due to both CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) and future gas turbine technological improvement. Further, there is a great variance in publicised UK electricity system CO2 emissions and CO2 intensity, from UK and European energy statistics, leading to an unclear determination of a realistic trend in future emissions for 'Market Rules'.