UKERC Energy Data Centre: ETI Publications

2050 Energy Infrastructure Outlook - Final Report

Citation Cook, H. 2050 Energy Infrastructure Outlook - Final Report, ETI, 2013.
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Author(s) Cook, H.
Project partner(s) Buro Happold Ltd
Publisher ETI
Download ESD_EN2004_1.pdf document type
Abstract The 2050 Energy Infrastructure Outlook project provides data on the costs associated with key types of fixed energy infrastructure as well as identifying possible ‘grey areas’ where technology development could significantly influence cost and performance. The project gathered data on different types of infrastructure associated with electricity, gas, hydrogen and heat. It also looked at infrastructure types: transmission, distribution, storage, conversion and connections. The data itself looked at costs relating to capital, fixed/variable operating and maintenance, abandonment (‘infrastructure decommissioning’) and repurposing (‘altering existing infrastructure’).

This is the final report summarising the approach to the project, development of the data tool and the findings from evaluating technology development opportunities in the networks. In the report, sections 2 & 3 cover the scope and approach to the project including the test cases that were agreed in the earlier workshops. Section 4 describes the spatial analysis used to determine how the different vectors are affected by geography including a reference to the maps generated for the test projects in the tool. Sections 5 & 6 are concerned with the analysis undertaken by the project team and workshop groups in looking at near and longer term potential implications for network development. Sections 7 & 8 describe the database itself (the user manual will go into more detail on how to use the tool) and finally Sections 9 & 10 describe opportunities for future technology development and developments of the tool outside of the current scope, identified by the project team and the workshop group.

In order to ensure the project reflected the widest possible set of outcomes, a number of test cases of possible energy trajectories out to 2050 were developed with the ETI Steering Group through a workshop and with input from the project team. Key influencing factors taken into consideration were decisions over centralised v decentralised systems, particularly in relation to generation; decisions over ‘pipes v wires’, particularly in relation to hydrogen; and the extent to which space heating is electrified. The test cases were
  • High Electricity: a world in which electricity becomes the dominant energy vector requiring upgrading of related electricity infrastructure. This test case assumes a predominantly centralised approach to generation and transmission.
  • High Heat: a world in which there is considerable progress in rolling out heat networks in urban centres, with the mix of energy vectors otherwise being similar to today. The test case suggests a more decentralised infrastructure with more localised forms of generation.
  • High Hydrogen: a world in which a transmission and distribution network for hydrogen is developed.
These test cases were used to ensure the cost model scope included elements that may not necessarily be commonplace today but could be in future (eg. some of the HVDC infrastructure elements, and hydrogen transmission). They also helped to frame the analysis of potential research opportunities undertaken progressively throughout the project. The structuring and development of the Infrastructure Cost Model was undertaken iteratively throughout the study period.

Complimentary to this work, research opportunities for each vector were explored to identify priority areas for each vector. For all vectors, storage is an area in which there are anumber of research opportunities, particularly at transmission level. Possibilities include flywheels and cryogenic liquid air storage for electricity, or geologic interseasonal storage for heat.
Associated Project(s) ETI-EN2004: Energy Infrastructure Cost and Performance 2010-2050
Associated Dataset(s) No associated datasets
Associated Publication(s)

2050 Energy Infrastructure Outlook - ETI Infrastructure Cost Calculator - Presentation

2050 Energy Infrastructure Outlook - Request for Proposals

Infrastructure Cost Calculator - a Project Summary