Coordinating research in energy networks

Mutli Energy

The Low Carbon Transition Plan and subsequent more detailed analyses make it clear that gas will be used increasingly for electricity generation up to at least 2020. HubNet will conduct research and stimulate academic interest in gas systems and their interactions with electricity networks. An important goal of this theme is to bring various strands of research (and their researchers) on electricity, gas, and heat networks much closer together.

Challenge and Activities

It is, as yet, uncertain how the de-carbonised power sector will be delivered (post 2030) and what the relative importance of the various energy vectors and their associated network requirements will be. Using the large number of published studies that are available, a set of scenarios will be used to define the networks required for a number of de-carbonised energy futures. These will then be analysed, with new tools and techniques being developed as needed. Particular attention will be paid to the interactions between the various energy vectors and how they can be developed progressively in an uncertain future.

The research will develop new modelling and analysis techniques for:

  • Examining the interaction between multiple energy vectors; and
  • Optimal coordinated planning and operation of energy networks under uncertainty.

It will contribute to policy development by quantifying the implications of an increasing use of electricity as the energy vector and investigating alternatives such as heat as an urban energy vector, demand side participation and the future use of the gas network.

Activities will include the following:

  • The scale of demand for electrical energy (including the loads of electric vehicles and heat pumps) in a de-carbonised power sector will be examined. Anticipated demand will be quantified at both local and national level. The level of demand side participation available to control electrical load will be evaluated and techniques proposed for demand side participation.
  • The future use of the gas network, interactions with the electricity network and gas storage will be examined. The role of gas, including bio-gas, in a low carbon energy system will be investigated.
  • The possible role of heat as an energy vector, particularly in urban areas, will be examined and comparisons made with cities in Northern Europe.

The images above show Integrated Energy Infrastructure (top) and interactions between various energy vectors (bottom).