UKERC Energy Data Centre: ETI Publications

UKERC Home >> EDC Home >> ETI Publications >> Back to Results >> UK Networks Transition Challenges - A Systems View

UK Networks Transition Challenges - A Systems View


Citation Lidstone, L. UK Networks Transition Challenges - A Systems View, ETI, 2016. https://doi.org/10.5286/UKERC.EDC.000902.
Cite this using DataCite
Author(s) Lidstone, L.
Project partner(s) ETI
Publisher ETI
DOI https://doi.org/10.5286/UKERC.EDC.000902
Download 3592-Network-Transitions.pdf document type
Abstract Over the coming decades the UK energy system will need to transition in order to meet challenging greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets. Population growth, changing demographics, and changing patterns of energy use will all affect how energy needs to be provided.

Equally, the availability of natural resources, the maturity of technologies, their relative costs and the various factors that influence their sustainability, will all affect the ways in which energy can be produced and supplied.

For a variety of practical and economic reasons, energy is rarely created in the location it is ultimately consumed. Networks perform the vital role of transporting energy from where it is produced to where it is required. They also perform a crucial role in helping to balance supply and demand, ensuring that energy is not only available in the right locations but also atthe right time. This part of their role is likely to take on greater significance as the energy system evolves.

Currently, most of the UK’s energy is moved around the country, and sometimes beyond, by electricity and gas networks, and the liquid fuel supply system (e.g. petrol and diesel). The roles of these networks will inevitably change as the ways in which we provide and consume energy evolve and as other networks emerge, not least those carrying heat and hydrogen. It is imperative that all of these networks are fit for purpose and robust enough to respond to future uncertainties. Choices need to be made about which networks to build, develop, maintain or decommission, as well as where and when to do so. As networks can take years or even decades to build, the right decisions must be made ahead of need. Equally, once they are built, networks cannot easily be movedor changed, so decisions need to beright for the long term.

It is also likely that there will need to be significantly more interaction between different parts of the energy system in the future, and therefore, by implication, there will need to be more interaction between the respective networks. Consequently, decisions about the future of networks should also consider how other energy networks are likely to evolve.

All of the above is in the context of significant uncertainty; any future network investments therefore need to be robust in the face of a range of possible transition pathway outcomes.

In this insight report we set out some of the key issues faced over the coming decades in pursuing different choices in relation to energy networks. We have focused on electricity, gas, heat and hydrogen networks, which we believe have vital roles to playover the period out to 2050. Our analysis also highlights the importance of CO2 networks and transport fuel over that period out to 2050.
Associated Project(s) ETI-EN2002: Network Capacity
Associated Dataset(s) No associated datasets
Associated Publication(s)

An ETI Perspective - Low carbon challenges for UK energy networks

Enabling efficient networks for low carbon futures: Options for governance and regulation

ETI Insights Report - UK Networks Transition Challenges - Electricity

ETI Insights Report - UK Networks Transition Challenges - Gas

ETI Insights Report - UK Networks Transition Challenges - Heat

ETI Insights Report - UK Networks Transition Challenges - Hydrogen

Infographic - UK Networks Transition Challenges

Network Capacity - Barriers to Application of Multi-Terminal HVDC in the UK: WP2 Task 4

Network Capacity - Barriers to Deployment; and Environmental & Social Impacts of Deployment: WP1 Tasks 4 & 5

Network Capacity - Executive Summary

Network Capacity - Feasibility Assessment of Onshore Multi-Terminal High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Systems in the UK

Network Capacity - Final Project Summary (Work Packages 1 & 2 a.k.a. WP1 Task 8)

Network Capacity - One Page Summary

Network Capacity - Performance of Onshore Multi-Terminal HVDC: WP2 Tasks 2 & 3

Network Capacity - Request for Proposal

Network Capacity - Technology Options, Benefits & Barriers Workshop and Multi-Criteria Assessment: WP1 Tasks 6 & 7

Network Capacity - WP1 Task 1: Assessment of Power Electronic Technologies - A literature review of the relevant power electronic technologies

Network Capacity -WP1 Task 2: Impact of Active Power Flow Management Solutions

Options Choices Actions - UK scenarios for a low carbon energy system

The Networks Jigsaw Event