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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number EP/T023031/1
Title Network headroom, engineering upgrades and public acceptance (NEUPA): Connecting engineering for heat system change to consumers and citizens
Status Started
Energy Categories Other Cross-Cutting Technologies or Research(Energy Models) 20%;
Other Cross-Cutting Technologies or Research(Energy system analysis) 20%;
Other Power and Storage Technologies(Electricity transmission and distribution) 40%;
Hydrogen and Fuel Cells(Hydrogen, Hydrogen transport and distribution) 10%;
Renewable Energy Sources(Other Renewables) 10%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields SOCIAL SCIENCES (Town and Country Planning) 20%;
SOCIAL SCIENCES (Sociology) 60%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 20%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Consumer attitudes and behaviour) 30%;
Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Technology acceptance) 30%;
Other (Energy technology information dissemination) 40%;
Principal Investigator Prof R (Rob ) Gross
No email address given
Centre for Environmental Policy
Imperial College London
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 July 2020
End Date 31 January 2024
Duration 43 months
Total Grant Value £1,232,009
Industrial Sectors Energy
Region London
Programme Energy : Energy
Investigators Principal Investigator Prof R (Rob ) Gross , Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London (99.995%)
  Other Investigator Prof KRW (Keith ) Bell , Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Strathclyde (0.001%)
Dr A Hawkes , Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London (0.001%)
Dr I Staffell , Business School, Imperial College London (0.001%)
Professor (Nicholas ) Pidgeon , Psychology, Cardiff University (0.001%)
Professor K Henwood , Sch of Social Sciences, Cardiff University (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , University of Oxford (0.000%)
Project Contact , The Scottish Government (0.000%)
Project Contact , National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), USA (0.000%)
Project Contact , Scottish and Southern Energy plc (0.000%)
Project Contact , UK Energy Research Centre (0.000%)
Project Contact , ETH Zurich, Switzerland (0.000%)
Project Contact , Greater London Authority (0.000%)
Project Contact , SP Energy Networks (0.000%)
Project Contact , Welsh Assembly Government (0.000%)
Project Contact , UK Power Networks (0.000%)
Project Contact , Committee on Climate Change (0.000%)
Project Contact , Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (0.000%)
Project Contact , Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract The project will provide the UK's first 'map' of network capacity and headroom and consider case studies in different parts of the UK in detail. It will also assess how heat and cooling demand might change in future using weather data. Based on all this the project will evaluate the nature of potential disruption in local communities created by heat system decarbonisation. It will engage with citizens to investigate their perceptions and expectations of heat system change.There are significant information gaps associated with the capacity of local energy distribution networks (gas, electricity and heat) to deliver energy for low carbon heating and cooling. Competing options include converting the gas grid to hydrogen, expanding electrification using heat pumps, and district heating. A key consideration is the nature of any constraints on the capacity of local networks, in particular the ability to deliver energy needed to meet peak demands, which can be far higher than average during extreme cold spells and perhaps in future during heat waves. Lack of both data and understanding of what disruption might be associated with heat system change are serious impediments to policy action on heat system decarbonisation. Research commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change analysis of a net zero target for 2050 concludes that utilisation of distribution network capacity is poorly understood. The project sets out to overcome this gap in information by evaluating what is known about distribution network condition based upon information reported by network companies and through interviews and surveys involving industry participants. It will compare electricity and gas networks and also consider district heating.Consumer acceptability of system change and local level disruption is also central to low carbon heat, yet it is similarly poorly understood and seldom linked to engineering detail at street or neighbourhood level. The project will use deliberative social science research to explore the expectations of citizens to the changes and disruption to local environments that might be associated with competing alternatives for delivering low carbon heating (and cooling) services to homes and businesses. Recent work on heat decarbonisation is strong with respect to assessment of end use technology options (i.e. what goes into the buildings) and on supply energy vectors (which energy source is utilised). However, it is weak on engineering, economic and social assessment of infrastructure needs and trade-offs - particularly for the 'last mile' or distribution network infrastructures that bring energy services to homes and businesses. This project is explicitly focused on this 'last mile' of infrastructure and combines engineering evaluation and constraint modelling with social science insights from public engagement with proposed heating solutions and their associated disruption(s), to assess the impacts of heat system change andwhat people think about them
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 11/10/21