Scenarios for the Development of Smart Grids in the UK
Smart Grids (SGs) offer clear potential to contribute to a number of UK policy goals including the transition to a low-carbon economy, energy security and affordability. SGs could do this by transforming the ways we produce, deliver and consume energy. SGs could even change how we think about energy and the services it provides.
‘Smart Grid’ generally refers to a set of technologies which use computerised automation and remote control to improve energy efficiency and help smooth out peaks in energy demand. This in turn may support integration of renewable energy sources and electric vehicles into the grid.
This project, which is funded by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), aims to advance understanding of SG roll-out and use through a programme of novel empirical research, developing and evaluating a number of socio-technical scenarios. The project will use expert and public workshops and surveys to develop and evaluate a set of scenarios for the roll-out of smart grids across the UK. The work will build the interaction of different actors into the scenario-development process to incorporate pace and scalability of technology deployment, cost and finance, organisational business models involved, regulatory style, the role of users, and international drivers and linkages.
Given the strength of scenarios for organising economic, technological, competitive, political and societal information and translating it into a framework for decision-making, they are well suited for analysing and informing SG development. Existing scenarios highlight social, economic, policy and technological drivers of change within energy and related sectors. However, little work to-date has examined the roles and priorities of different actors, spatial variation (e.g., urban/rural, existing energy infrastructure) or behavioural issues. A significant innovation of this project will be to incorporate these important dimensions into specific SG scenarios, and to include stakeholders’ assessments of the uncertainties and key indicators associated with SG development.
Further details are available here.
Policy Studies Institute (PSI)
Dr Nazmiye Ozkan
Dr Gary Taylor