Energy system decarbonisation is an immense challenge to meet deep decarbonisation pathways at the UK (CCC, 2016), and global levels (Rogelj et al., 2016). A consensus has emerged (Li et al., 2015) that deep decarbonisation strategies must not only encompass radical technological change but societally driven energy demand as well.
Energy system models have historically focused on supply interactions with residential, commercial and transport demand sectors defined independently, often via scenario analysis. In reality, energy demand revolves around consumers and broader societal lifestyles – e.g., eating habits or work patterns – which simultaneous affect the full range of energy service demands with wider upstream impacts on infrastructures and resource use.
The difficulty of existing energy systems models to capture consumer and societal drivers, results in a relative paucity of quantitative modelling to underpin key energy policy issues, such as fuel poverty for low income groups. There are research directions that try to address this, notably socio-technical energy transitions (STET), for an example see (Geels et al., 2016a) There is however a keen debate in the STET field to use models (Holtz et al., 2016) or to focus on rich qualitative insights (McDowall and Geels, 2016). Similar debates on possibly reformulating onto consumers and societal drivers is seen in the more traditional energy modelling field (Pye et al., 2015).
Dialogue Session Structure
This BIEE Dialogue session will have an internationally leading panel; including an energy systems modeller, an energy demand expert, a STET practitioner, and a UK policy stakeholder. They will open the arguing opposing viewpoints on the four key questions below, with the goal to spark broader discussion. The session will include a brief pre-read, and we will collate key points of agreement and contention.
What are the potential benefits of consumer- and society-focused energy demand models?
Can we capture non-marginal structural changes, agent dependencies and path dependencies in a formal model, or do we still need scenarios?
How do we link to existing supply-focused technologically-detailed models?
Is data available to develop energy demand models, and if not how could we obtain it?
Categories: Academic Papers