A whole systems energy study - the Glasgow energy operator

Hawker, G. S. and Watson, G. and McMillan, D. and Neilson, D. (2020) A whole systems energy study - the Glasgow energy operator. In: CIGRE Session 2020, 2020-08-24 - 2020-09-03, Paris.

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Deep decarbonisation of local energy systems requires consideration of the contributions from multiple energy resources and networks, which may not be achievable by separate Network Operators acting in isolation. In this paper, the concept of the Local Energy System Operator (LESO) is introduced, acting to bridge between different Distribution Network Operators with a Whole System view of energy provision, and able to utilise assets in both electricity and gas networks. The LESO concept is demonstrated using a model representing the electricity and gas networks of the Glasgow City Council Area, and illustrates the ability of the LESO to optimise dispatch of assets across multiple carriers to achieve specific objectives in costs and emissions intensity, and to coordinate local investment in networks between DNOs. This bridging role is particularly appropriate to local municipalities such as Glasgow which have set ambitious near-term targets for emissions reduction, while not having direct control over the cost and emissions associated with upstream energy provision. Scenarios representing different future upstream energy system evolutionary pathways (such as mass electrification and gas grid decarbonisation) are simulated and indicate the means by which local emissions reduction may be achieved in both operational and planning timescales via joint dispatch/planning of electricity and gas networks in order to avoid stranded assets and unnecessary sunk costs. Within operational timescales, hybrid systems such as heat networks may be dispatched to make optimal use of network headroom, which can then further inform the level of emissions reduction which will be realised through specific volumes of network investment, and where they might best be directed. The inability of the LESO to control upstream emissions means that the rate of decarbonisation is still constrained by the emissions intensity of transmission-connected energy resources – however, as there is no implicit central planning role in deregulated energy markets, a local coordinating role is seen as key to making best use of heterogeneous regional and local energy systems, and interfacing with centralised actors to best realised the energy transition.