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Reference Number NIA_WWU_2_02
Title Regional Decarbonisation Pathways
Status Completed
Energy Categories FOSSIL FUELS: OIL, GAS and COAL (Oil and Gas, Refining, transport and storage of oil and gas) 50%;
Research Types Applied Research and Development 100%
Science and Technology Fields ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 100%
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Systems Analysis related to energy R&D 100%
Principal Investigator Project Contact
No email address given
Wales and West Utilities
Award Type Network Innovation Allowance
Funding Source Ofgem
Start Date 01 July 2021
End Date 31 July 2022
Duration ENA months
Total Grant Value £609,753
Industrial Sectors Energy
Region Wales
Programme Network Innovation Allowance
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , Wales and West Utilities (100.000%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Wales and West Utilities (0.000%)
Web Site
Objectives Project partners the Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) and Costain will deliver a Strategic and Conceptual Plan. The Strategic Plan will be developed using two of ESCs national whole energy system models and Costains gas network engineering expertise. The modelling outputs will then be used to provide insights about how the wider energy system and networks within it will develop over time, establishing parameters for network development requirements. These outputs will become the inputs for the Conceptual Plan, ensuring that the technical and engineering work starts from a position, consistent with the least-cost pathway to Net Zero for the WWU regions. Strategic Plan: Scenarios will be developed, and assumptions agreed. Modelling will then be carried out using ESCs multi-regional Energy System Modelling Environment (ESME) and Infrastructure Transitions Assessment Model (ITAM). ESME is a 26-region (13 onshore regions; 13 off-shore regions) UK least-cost, techno-economic whole system model. It covers all aspects of energy demand and supply, including generation, storage, distribution and transportation and supply vectors including hydrogen, biogas, hybrid heating and electricity. ESME will be used to understand the likely whole system energy solutions for the agreed scenarios. Nationally consistent outputs will be produced for the Wales and the South-West of England regions at 5-yearly intervals out to 2050. ESME outputs will then be used by the ESCs Infrastructure Transition Assessment Model (ITAM). ITAM uses Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOA) and Local Authority data to interpret what the ESME outputs mean, specifically for network infrastructure. It enables further breakdown and assessment of the infrastructure investment required to meet these scenarios and underpin sub-regional assessments. During this phase of work ESC will work closely with WWU and Costain, leveraging their technical and engineering expertise to refine ITAM model logic (e.g., infrastructure development models) and test technical feasibility. Conceptual Plan: The Conceptual Plan will take the outputs from the whole energy system modelling and assess the infrastructure requirements against the existing and evolving gas network configuration, sources of decarbonised gas and storage to develop concept designs for each scenario. Concept designs will be developed at five-year time slices to detail the conversion pathways and develop high-level regional conversion strategies.Measurement Quality and Data Quality StatementThe ESME (Energy System Modelling Environment) model is a data-driven least-cost optimisation model of the UK energy system, with outputs of the model being the lowest-cost transition pathway from 2015 to 2050. This model was developed by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) to inform its position on technologies roles within the transition to a low carbon energy system. The model was initially developed between 2008 and 2010. A peer review was carried out in 2010 by experts including Imperial College, Mott MacDonald, the UK Governments Department of Energy and Climate Change and the International Energy Agency, and the model was found to be fit for purpose and complements alternative tools well. ITAM was developed to allow users to calculate and compare network transition costs across several scenarios and vectors, including electricity, gas, heat, and hydrogen. It provides users with access to a robust, centrally stored database of infrastructure costs based on current industry data. ITAM uses Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOA) and Local Authority data to interpret what the ESME outputs mean, specifically for network infrastructure. It enables further breakdown and assessment of the infrastructure investment required to meet these scenarios. It is paramount for models such as ESME and ITAM to remain accurate and up to date both in terms of data assumptions and the models capabilities. ESMEs nature focuses on transition pathways reaching some distance into the future and poor quality or incorrectly implemented data assumptions or model logic can lead to inappropriate and unintended behaviours. As a result, specific processes are followed to ensure that the quality and integrity of data within ESME and ITAM is continually maintained.Processes include:Periodic updates following ESC internal principles and processes.Ongoing quality assurance.Consultation of subject matter experts to capture technology evolution appropriately.Development of model user guides and publication of datasets and a Data Reference Book.The project is rated low in the common assessment framework detailed in the ENIP document after assessing the total project value, the progression through the TRL levels, the number of project delivery partners and the medium level of data assumptions.No additional peer review is required for this project. ESME will produce whole systems analysis for Wales and the South-West of England regions. These WWU regions connect to other regions in England as well as offshore regions containing energy resources and CO2 stores, enabling representation of energy flows to and from the wider UK system. ITAM will provide an assessment of how the gas network infrastructure will look in 2050, comparing it to current network infrastructure requirements. ITAM produces a range of outputs (e.g., the geographical deployment of heating technologies) and a bill of quantities for the network infrastructure required to reach Net Zero in 2050. The modelling will be developed for the following WWU sub-regions:North Wales Growth DealGrowing Mid WalesSwansea Bay City RegionCardiff Capital RegionWest of England Combined AuthorityDevonCornwallConceptual PlanThe Conceptual Plan will take the regional outputs from ESME and assess the optimum locations for hydrogen production and storage to deliver the volumes of hydrogen required to meet the demand identified from the modelling. The capacity of the existing WWU infrastructure will then be assessed to deliver the volumes of hydrogen to the main demand centres, developing conceptual network designs for the LTS network.The Conceptual plan will take the sub-regional outputs from the ITAM model and assess the suitability of the sub-regional WWU network infrastructure to meet the modelled demands, developing conceptual network designs for each of the sub-regions listed above. There is a lot of ongoing work to identify the most effective route to meet net zero in the UK and this project is one of many projects to evidence the major or minor role hydrogen will have in different scenarios. Repurposing the UK gas networks with hydrogen to support the challenge of the climate change act has the potential to save £millions with minimal gas customer disruption verses alternative decarbonisation solutions Provide a strategic plan to decarbonise Wales and the South-West of England (Strategic Plan).Provide details of the future gas network requirements to achieve the optimal energy system for Wales and South-West England (Conceptual Plan).
Abstract This spend will fund reports which will provide a strategic plan to decarbonise Wales and the South-West of England (Strategic Plan) and provide details of the future gas network requirements to achieve the optimal energy system for the WWU network (Conceptual Plan).
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 19/10/22