Decentralisation Issues: Decentralised Energy Potential

Dr. Douglas Parr, Greenpeace UK

Transmission and distribution are a significant part of UK electricity costs and aging infrastructure requires investment. Decentralised energy requires less transmission and distribution investment than a centralised system. The Greenpeace World Alliance for Decentralised Energy (WADE) report models the energy system and was applied to the UK to compare the costs of a nuclear centralised system against a renewable decentralised system over 20 years. Results suggest that a decentralised system is more effective at reducing CO2 emissions, natural gas use and capital and retail costs than a centralised nuclear system. However it should be noted that the cost differences are relatively small and there is some uncertainty on future costs. Examples are given of successful approaches to decentralised energy such as Woking, London and Aberdeen. Several political leaders support decentralised energy systems and there is scope for distributed generation to positively influence consumer energy awareness and behaviour.

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