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Multienergy vector modelling of a Scottish energy system : transitions and technology implications

Robertson, Elizabeth and Galloway, Stuart (2017) Multienergy vector modelling of a Scottish energy system : transitions and technology implications. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part A: Journal of Power and Energy, 231 (6). pp. 580-589. ISSN 0957-6509

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The Scottish Government's commitment for 100% of electricity consumed in Scotland to be from renewable, zero-carbon sources by 2020 continues to drive change in the energy system alongside European and UK targets. The growth of renewables in Scotland is being seen at many scales including industrial, domestic and community generation. In these latter two cases a transition from the current 'top down' energy distribution system to a newer approach is emerging. The work of this paper will look at a 'bottom up' view that sees community led distributed energy at its centre. This paper uses the modelling tool HESA to investigate high penetrations of Distributed Generation (DG) in the Angus Region of Scotland. Installations of DG will follow Thousand Flowers transition pathway trajectory which sees more than 50% of electricity demand being supplied by DG by 2050. From this, insights around the technological and socio-political feasibility, consequences and implications of high penetrations of DG in the UK energy system are presented. Results demonstrate the influence that system change will have on regional and local emission levels under four separate scenarios. It is shown that the penetration of DG requires supplementary installations of reliable and long term storage alongside utilisation of transmission and transportation infrastructures to maximise the potential of distributed generation and maximise whole system benefits. Importantly, there must be a level of coordination and support to realise a shift to a highly distributed energy future to ensure there is a strong economic case with a reliable policy backing.