Renewable energy deployment and costs in the UK: spatial analysis taking into account policy, social and environmental land use constraints

Ms Marianne  Zeyringer, UCL Energy Institute, United Kingdom

Dr Dennis Konadu, UCL Energy Institute,United Kingdom

Dr James Price, UCL Energy Institute, United Kingdom

Dr Sheila Samsatli, Imperial College London, United Kingdom

Dr Zenaida Sobral-Mourao, University of Cambridge,United Kingdom

The UK is committed to reduce its GHG emissions by at least 80% in 2050 from 1990 levels (Parliament of the United Kingdom, 2008). Pacala, (2004) states that the portfolio of energy technologies to tackle the climate problem in the next 50 years is already industrially available. This assumption implies large scale deployment of nuclear energy and/or renewable energy sources (RES). The location of RES determines the total output and the timing of production. This means that the LCOE and integration costs are location dependent. There is a significant body of literature that analyses spatially the potential of RES in the UK: Gooding et al., (2013) for PV; Aylott et al., (2010), Tenerelli and Carver, (2012) and Lovett et al., (2014) for biomass energy; Drew et al., (2013) and Samsatli et al., (2016) for wind turbines. Evidence also exists in the literature that landscape is very important in British cultural identity and (Toke, Breukers, & Wolsink, 2008) decisions are influenced by minority groups (Bell, Gray, & Haggett, 2005).

The current literature however is yet to assess the potential of wind, solar and biomass energy including limiting factors affecting the deployment. To compare a large scale deployment of RES with other options it is important to discuss from the point of view of research, social attitudes and policy the potential and cost implications of defining land constraints to development. This will help to decide which decarbonisation strategies would be more in line with political and social considerations of land use. We close this research gap by: (1) developing a framework of scenarios for areas excluded from development; (2) using GIS to evaluate how these scenarios affect the physical potential; and, (3) estimate the costs of renewable energy deployment under the different land exclusion scenarios. First results show that the overall potential and costs of deployment of RES at large scale in the UK depend strongly on the assumptions of exclusion areas.


Keywords: renewable energy deployment, constraints, costs, GIS


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