Category Archives: Energy Systems

Techno-Economic-Environmental Analysis of A Smart Multi Energy Grid Utilising Geothermal Energy Storage For Meeting Heat Demand

Researchers based at Newcastle University from the EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI) and the Supergen Energy Networks Hub (SEN), Dr Seyed Hamid Reza Hosseini and Dr Adib Allahham, along with the Coal Authority, Dr Charlotte Adams, will soon publish their journal paper in IET Smart Grid.

About the author: Dr Adib Allahham

Dr Adib Allahham

Dr Adib Allahham is a Research Associate within the Power Systems Research Team, School of Engineering, Newcastle University and currently works on several projects including the EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI) and the Supergen Energy Networks Hub (SEN). Adib received his PhD from the University of Joseph Fourier in the field of control engineering. His research involves projects around the electricity distribution and off-grid power sector and multi-vector energy systems. These projects are addressing the need to cost-efficiently decarbonise the energy sector over the next thirty years by facilitating innovative network integration of new generation, and the integration of different energy vectors (electricity, gas, and heat). Computer simulation, laboratory investigation and demonstration projects are used together to produce new knowledge that delivers this requirement. He has published more than 25 technical papers in leading journals and conferences.

Contact details:
adib.allahham@ncl.ac.uk
@adiballahham
Profile details

About the paper

The UK Government has committed to a ‘Net Zero’ carbon economy by 2050 [1]. One major source of carbon emission is associated with heat demand from the domestic, commercial and industrial sectors.

Providing for heat demand accounts for around one third of UK carbon emissions [2]. In order to decarbonise the provision of heat, it is essential to increase the penetration of Low Carbon Energy Sources [1] in Smart Multi Energy Grids (SMEGs), i.e. integrated gas, electricity, and district heating and cooling networks [3,4]. This, consequently, has impact on the operation of SMEGs from the Techno-Economic-Environment (TEE) point of view [5,28].

Recent work on the geothermal potential of the UK’s flooded abandoned mining infrastructure has revealed a subsurface resource in place of 2.2 million GWh [11]. The impact of integrating this vast supply and storage potential on the operation and planning of SMEGs needs to be evaluated in terms of TEE aspects.

The paper identifies research gaps, including neglecting the electricity requirements of the components of the geothermal system that is required to boost the hot water quality and presents an evaluation framework for the Techno-Economic-Environmental (TEE) performance of Integrated Multi-Vector Energy Networks (IMVENs) including geothermal energy. Geothermal Energy Storage (GES), offers huge potential for both energy storage and supply and can play a critical role in decarbonising heat load of Smart Multi Energy Grids.

Schematic of SEH, GN & DHN
Fig.1 Schematic of the considered Smart Electricity Network (SEN), Gas Network (GN) and District Heating Network (DHN)

The two most common types of GES, i.e. High Temperature GES (HTGES) and Low Temperature GES (LTGES), were modelled and integrated within the framework which evaluates the impact of different low carbon energy sources including HTGES, LTGES, wind and PV on the amount of energy imported from upstream, operational costs and emissions of IMVENs to meet the heat load of a region.

Data from a real-world case study was used to compare the TEE performance of the considered IMVEN configurations for meeting the heat load. Data included wind and PV generation, as well as the heat and electricity load for a representative winter week of a small rural village in Scotland.

Fig. 2 The schematic of all the possible configurations of IMVEN considered in this paper

The results reveal that the most efficient, cost effective and least carbon intensive configurations for meeting the heat load of the case study are the configurations benefitting from HTGES, from a high penetration of heat pumps and from LTGES, respectively.


References

  1. [1] ‘Net Zero – The UK´s contribution to stopping global warming’, https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Net-Zero-The-UKs-contribution-to-stopping-global-warming.pdf, accessed 20 December 2019
  2. [2] ‘Clean Growth – Transforming Heating: Overview of Current Evidence, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/766109/decarbonising-heating.pdf, accessed 20 December 2019
  3. [3] Ceseña E.A.M., Mancarella P.: ‘Energy Systems Integration in Smart Districts: Robust Optimisation of Multi-Energy Flows in Integrated Electricity, Heat and Gas Networks’, IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, 2019, 10, (1), pp. 1122-1131
  4. [4] Lund, H., Andersen, A.N., Østergaard, P.A., et al.: ‘From electricity smart grids to smart energy systems – A market operation based approach and understanding’, Energy, 42, (1), pp. 96-102
  5. [5] Hosseini, S.H.R., Allahham, A., Taylor, P.: ‘Techno-economic-environmental analysis of integrated operation of gas and electricity networks’. Proc. IEEE Int. Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS), Florence, Italy, May 2018, pp. 1–5
  6. [28] Hosseini, S.H.R., Allahham, A., Walker, S.L., et al.: ‘Optimal planning and operation of multi-vector energy networks: A systematic review’, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2020, 133, 110216
  7. [11] Adams, C., Monaghan, A., Gluyas, J.: ‘Mining for heat’, Geoscientist, 2019, 29, (4), pp. 10-15

Energising our lives – a WES 100 Violets Challenge project – the continuing story

Engineering is key to find answers to the challenges we face today! From the climate emergency to the medical and humanitarian response to the global pandemic, collaborating engineers are playing a significant role in developing solutions.

Newcastle University researchers, Dr. Jannetta Steyn and Laura Brown have worked together on a WES 100 Violets Public Engagement Challenge project, to illustrate the solutions and ideas engineers are applying to the global need for clean and affordable energy and integrating technology to improve the quality of our every life.

About WES

The Women’s Engineering Society (WES) is a charity and a professional network of women engineers, scientists and technologists offering inspiration, support and professional development. Working in partnership, it supports and inspires women to achieve as engineers, scientists and as leaders; they encourage the education of engineering; and support companies with gender diversity and inclusion.

About WES 100 Violets Challenge

The Women’s Engineering Society’s (WES) 100 Violets Challenge competition was part of their centenary celebrations in 2020. The aim was to design and build an engaging museum exhibit that celebrates and showcases engineering/research and shares it with the public. The challenge is supported by the Ingenious Grant program from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Building the exhibit

Please see our first blog post to find out more background about the project idea. https://blogs.ncl.ac.uk/cesi/2021/01/29/wes-100violets-part1/

More Technical Details about the project can be found in a series of blogs developed by Jannetta at her personal blog site: – brainwaves.jannetta.com

The aim of the exhibit was to showcase electrical, software, computing, mechanical, building, transport and energy engineering. So no pressure then.

The Energy System Integration Vision

About the Project Team: Dr Jannetta Steyn

Jannetta is a Research Software Engineer at the Digital Institute, Newcastle University. As an experienced researcher and software engineer she has a background in data analysis, provenance and middleware programming. Jannetta does a large amount of outreach work, primarily in STEM, running a range of coding clubs and electronics clubs.

Contact:- Jannetta.Steyn@newcastle.ac.uk

http://brainwaves.jannetta.com/

About the Project Team: Laura Brown

Laura is the Centre Manager, EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration and Energy Research Programme Manager, Newcastle University. Her research tackles the challenges of integration of state-of-the-art thinking and technology into legacy and future energy systems. Laura sits on the Tees and Tyne Regional Cluster Committee of the Women’s Engineering Society and is the group leader of the SDG7 subgroup of the WES Climate Emergency Group.

Contact:- laura.brown11@newcastle.ac.uk

Our first outing

By way of practice for the WES 100Violets Exhibition planned for April 2020, we were lucky enough to be offered a chance to “trial” the exhibit at the opening event of the Gateshead Library Makerspace. We were delighted that the training we have been given by WES had come in very useful, particularly the risk assessment guidance. This meant we had planned carefully the storage requirements, labeling and cable routes for the equipment for our exhibit.

Jannetta writing some code for the IoT with a young helper adjusting our Lego Engineers

The event went well but underlined what we suspected:- KIDS LOVE LEGO. It proved to be a popular exhibit. And, while it might have been the draw of the remote control car (with its own garage), the Bluetooth controlled train or the eye-catching rotating wind turbine, all of the young people we spoke with left knowing just a little bit more than they did about renewable energy and role of women in engineering and computing.

So how do these technologies work in real life?

Part of the purpose of the exhibit was to provide educational information on the energy system. So we had been working on a number of learning resources that we thought might help engage the visitors to the exhibition. We had planned to have ‘make your own’ wind mill; colouring sheets; spot the energy competitions and possibly a 3D printing demo session.

It was all looking good but then as the date for the main event drew near, the impact of the pandemic was starting to reach home. The organisers took the difficult but inevitable decision to postpone the exhibition.

How does a wind turbine produce electricity? https://archive.epa.gov/climatechange/kids/solutions/technologies/wind.html
  1. As the wind blows over the blades of a wind turbine, it causes the blades to lift and rotate.
  2. The rotating blades turn a shaft that is connected to a generator.
  3. The generator creates electricity as it turns.

Some great STEM resources out there to explain energy

As part of our research we found some very useful STEM resources that we would highly recommend for anyone looking to understand more about their own energy system.

  1. BBC Bitesize – Humans and the Environment https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zp22pv4
  2. NASA’s Climate Kids https://climatekids.nasa.gov/menu/energy/
  3. CALTECHs Energy STEM resources https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/learn/tag/search/Energy

So what now

While cancelling the event was most definitely the right thing to do, all the groups from the WES competition were disappointed. Lockdown meant our team couldn’t even get onto campus to check our equipment and work further on the exhibit. Everything paused.

When the North East of England partially removed the lockdown in the summer, Jannetta collected all the components of the exhibit to have at home. So after the most recent national lockdown and encouraged by Dr Jo Douglas-Harris, the WES Tees and Tyne Cluster Chair, we looked for alternative ways to ‘tell the story’ of the project and share the vision. The new aim: let’s try to exhibit virtually. A new challenge for us both.

So for the last month of so, in our rare moments of spare time and in our evenings, we have put together some materials and collated the reflections and learning from the project in two blogs (this one and that one (https://blogs.ncl.ac.uk/cesi/2021/01/29/wes-100violets-part1/)). And we are going to trial exhibiting virtually via a livestream on CESI’s YouTube Channel.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcKtJZLFUsCXYGuJ62evBkA

The EPSRC National Centre for Energy System Integration (CESI) YouTube Channel

Event Details

Image

And we’ve got an accompanying YouTube video too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_slWTm_zEhI

We look forward to hearing what you think.

Achieving ‘Net Zero’ targets under uncertainty: A framework to support decision making in an increasingly integrated energy system

Researchers and academics from the EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI) and the Supergen Energy Networks Hub, Dr Hamid Hosseini, Dr Adib Allahham, Dr Sara Walker and Prof Phil Taylor recently published their paper ‘Uncertainty Analysis of The Impact of Increasing Levels of Gas and Electricity Network Integration and Storage on Techno-Economic-Environmental Performance’ in the international, multi-disciplinary journal Energy.

About the author: Dr Hamid Hosseini

Dr Hamid Hosseini

Hamid joined Newcastle University in 2017 as a postdoctoral research associate to the EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI). Since joining the team, Hamid has been actively involved in research looking at planning, optimisation and operational analysis of integrated multi-vector energy networks. He also collaborated with a multi-disciplinary team on the UKRI Research and Innovation Infrastructure (RII) roadmap project, advising UKRI on the current landscape and future roadmap of Energy RIIs. He has supported and collaborated with several CESI Flex Fund projects to investigate further various aspects of Energy Systems Integration (ESI). Moreover, he is working with the Executive Board of Northern Gas Networks to identify the potential energy systems challenges that could be investigated at the Customer Energy Village of the Integrated Transport Electricity Gas Research Laboratory (InTEGReL), through collaboration with a multi-disciplinary team of energy experts in industry and academia. Hamid is author of several papers published in prestigious journals and conferences on the review and techno-economic-environmental operational analysis of integrated multi-vector energy networks.

Contact email: hamid.hosseini@newcastle.ac.uk
Profile details


Like many Governments, the UK has committed to significantly reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, setting a target of ‘Net Zero’ by 2050 [1]. In many regions, the focus has been on the electrification of heat to ensure these targets are achieved. There is a growing interest in exploring and quantifying the impact of integrating energy systems to decarbonise them. This includes the integration of the gas and electric networks and increased use of renewables and energy storage [2], [3], [4].

However, there is great uncertainty associated with forecasted loads, generation of renewables, energy prices and other operational costs, as well as the emissions associated with future networks and energy conversion technologies. To provide a basis for making well-informed and risk-based design choices towards the GHG emission targets, it is essential to consider the impact of different sources of uncertainty on the Techno-Economic-Environmental (TEE) performance of Integrated Energy Networks (IENs). In addition to these uncertainties, the TEE impact of different Energy Storage Systems (ESSs) and different levels of integration of the networks [5] need to be investigated in detail.

In this paper, we present a framework to assess the Techno-Economic-Environmental (TEE) impact of Integrated Gas and Electricity Networks (IGENs). We look at how different levels of networks’ integration and storage devices affect the performance of IGENs. Using Monte Carlo Simulation, we sampled probabilistic distributions to model the sources of uncertainty including loads, RESs, economic and environmental factors. More detailed information of the inputs and outputs of the TEE framework is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1 The algorithm of the TEE evaluation framework considering several sources of uncertainty

The framework carries out a TEE operational analysis of IGENs for possible future energy scenarios to calculate the energy imported from upstream networks, operational costs, and emissions. As the framework considers uncertainties in this analysis, it helps robust decision making in designing an energy system to meet 2050 carbon targets.

In the paper, we give a comprehensive analysis of the results when the framework is applied to a real-world case study. 

The key findings of this analysis include:

  • Efforts to improve the efficiency of coupling components by equipment manufacturers are very important goals in pursuit of lower TEE performance parameters in future integrated networks.
  • Given that demand reduction and decarbonisation of electricity and gas networks is a priority, the coupled configurations are likely to become more attractive between now and 2050.

These findings hold true for all the values considered in the uncertainty analysis.

The full paper will appear in the Elsevier Journal, Energy, and is available to view online [6].


References

[1] Committee on Climate Change. Net Zero – The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming, 2019. Google Scholar

[2] P. Rachakonda, V. Ramnath, V.S. Pandey. Uncertainty evaluation by monte carlo method, MAPAN, 34 (3) (2019), pp. 295-298. CrossRef View Record in Scopus Google Scholar

[3] Han Jie, Chen Huaiyan, and Cao Yun. Uncertainty evaluation using monte carlo method with matlab. In IEEE 2011 10th International Conference on Electronic Measurement & Instruments, volume 2, pages 282–286. IEEE, 2011. Google Scholar

[4] Seyed Hamid Reza Hosseini, Adib Allahham, Sara Louise Walker, Phil Taylor. Optimal planning and operation of multi-vector energy networks: A systematic review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 133 (2020), 110216. Google Scholar

[5] Seyed Hamid Reza Hosseini, Adib Allahham, and Phil Taylor. “Techno-economic-environmental analysis of integrated operation of gas and electricity networks.” In 2018 IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS), pp. 1-5. IEEE, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1109/ISCAS.2018.8351704

[6] Seyed Hamid Reza Hosseini, Adib Allahham, Sara Louise Walker, Phil Taylor. Uncertainty Analysis of The Impact of Increasing Levels of Gas and Electricity Network Integration and Storage on Techno-Economic-Environmental Performance, Energy, 2021, 119968, ISSN 0360-5442. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2021.119968

Energising our lives – a WES 100 Violets Challenge project – the 1st part of the story

Engineering is key to find answers to the challenges we face today! From the climate emergency to the medical and humanitarian response to the global pandemic, collaborating engineers are playing a significant role in developing solutions.

Newcastle University researchers, Dr. Jannetta Steyn and Laura Brown have worked together on a WES 100 Violets Public Engagement Challenge project, to illustrate the solutions and ideas engineers are applying to the global need for clean and affordable energy and integrating technology to improve the quality of our every life.

About WES

The Women’s Engineering Society (WES) is a charity and a professional network of women engineers, scientists and technologists offering inspiration, support and professional development. Working in partnership, it supports and inspires women to achieve as engineers, scientists and as leaders; they encourage the education of engineering; and support companies with gender diversity and inclusion.

About WES 100 Violets Challenge

The Women’s Engineering Society’s (WES) 100 Violets Challenge competition was part of their centenary celebrations in 2020. The aim was to design and build an engaging museum exhibit that celebrates and showcases engineering/research and shares it with the public. The challenge is supported by the Ingenious Grant program from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The exhibit idea

The aim of the exhibit was to showcase electrical, software, computing, mechanical, building and energy engineering. The Public would be able to interact with the exhibit to provide an insight into how things work and what is involved in developing the technologies that make our way of life possible without impacting the planet.

Essentially the team would be building a model of a typical house but integrated with some of the established and emerging engineering and computer science innovations that are providing a route to sustainable living.

The building model was inspired by a family history project carried out by Dr. Steyn of a house that was built by her ancestors in South Africa in 1850 in the Cape Province.

  • The prototype was designed using Inkscape
  • A lasercutter was used to cut it from 3mm Birch plywood
  • The thatch roof used coconut fibre and the ridge was cut strips from a hanging flower basket lining

The final model was informed by the research being carried out at the EPSRC National Centre for Energy System Integration (CESI) which both project team members participate in. CESI is investigating the value in taking an energy systems integration approach to the future energy system and evaluating the security, economic and environmental costs of the future energy and transport scenarios being considered for the UK.

More Technical Details about the project can be found in a series of blogs developed by Jannetta at her personal blog site: – brainwaves.jannetta.com

About the Project Team: Dr Jannetta Steyn

Jannetta is a Research Software Engineer at the Digital Institute, Newcastle University. As an experienced researcher and software engineer she has a background in data analysis, provenance and middleware programming. Jannetta does a large amount of outreach work, primarily in STEM, running a range of coding clubs and electronics clubs.

Contact:- Jannetta.Steyn@newcastle.ac.uk

http://brainwaves.jannetta.com/

About the Project Team: Laura Brown

Laura is the Centre Manager, EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration and Energy Research Programme Manager, Newcastle University. Her research tackles the challenges of integration of state-of-the-art thinking and technology into legacy and future energy systems. Laura sits on the Tees and Tyne Regional Cluster Committee of the Women’s Engineering Society and is the group leader of the SDG7 subgroup of the WES Climate Emergency Group.

Contact:- laura.brown11@newcastle.ac.uk

Elements within the project

Training and Early Engagement

To help give us expertise the tricky art of public engagement and science communication, the WES 100 Violets Challenge Group organised two expert training sessions from a wonderful team of Science Communicator experts from Science Made Simple. The trainers gave us top tips on body language, communication tools and invalable guidance on the Health and Safety considerations of planning a public exhibit. We also got the chance to meet the other winners of the 100Violets Challenge and hear about their inventive ideas.

And to practice our new science communications skills, we organised an event with the students and staff of the School of Engineering at Newcastle University. As part of our exhibit were some elements of lego energy systems, we thought the students (and staff) would have fun helping us construct the model. And for extra measure, we borrowed some resources from our colleagues at Open Lab to allow some free lego building. The event was great fun and I’m pleased our research confirmed our hypothesis – engineers love playing with lego !!! What do you think of the results?

Community build with the Engineering students from Newcastle University

Gender Equality in Engineering

We aren’t sure who coined the phrase, “if you can’t see it, you can’t be it” as a rallying call to have positive role models from all sections of society in all walks of life but we felt even in this relatively light-hearted project there was some evidence of gender bias in the system. When we procured the rather fabulous lego wind turbine we were somewhat crestfallen when the two technicians were both males! That error was quickly fixed by some immediate head swaps. We then used this as a theme in the model that all the roles in the exhibit tableau would be engineers – a non-gendered noun.

The end of the beginning

By this time the model was starting to take shape. (More technical details can be found in a series of blogs developed by Jannetta blog site: – brainwaves.jannetta.com ).

  1. We had a date in the calendar for the big WES 100 Violets Exhibition
  2. We had procured all the parts of the model and constructed all the lego components
  3. 3D printing and Laser Cutting of the House was going well
  4. The IoT Smart Home was beginning to take shape
  5. The EV had been built and was (remotely) operational
  6. We had developed some engaging learning materials to accompany our exhibit
  7. Science Made Simple team had helped us perfect our Exhibition Pitch for our intended audience
  8. We had our first engagement event with the students (guinea pigs) completed and it had went well
  9. Our fabulous colleague Faye Harland had provided an amazing schematic of our planned model (See below)
  10. We had another local exhibition planned …
  11. It was February 2020 … it was all in hand … what could possibly go wrong …

… we suspect you can guess but we will provide some more of the story next week in our next blog. To be continued …

The visualisation of our idea. Artist: Faye Harland, Newcastle University

How green is energy storage? Learnings from a CESI-funded case study

Academics funded by the EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI) in the Centre’s first Flexible Funding Call, recently published the results of a study on the impacts of energy storage operation on greenhouse gas emissions, in the journal Applied Energy. Their work is summarised here by the lead author, Dr Andrew Pimm, and the full paper [1] is freely available to all on the journal website. The research team was led by Prof Tim Cockerill of the University of Leeds, and also included Dr Jan Palczewski of Leeds and Dr Edward Barbour of Loughborough University.

About the author: Dr Andrew Pimm

Dr Andrew Pimm is a Research Fellow at the University of Leeds investigating the techno-economics of energy storage, energy flexibility, and industrial decarbonisation. Prior to joining Leeds in 2015, he worked on the development of grid-scale energy storage technologies at the University of Nottingham, where he was involved in offshore trials of underwater compressed air energy storage.

Contact details
Email: a.j.pimm@leeds.ac.uk

Energy storage will be a key part of the future energy system, allowing the deployment of higher levels of non-dispatchable low carbon electricity generation and increased electrification of energy demand for heating/cooling, transport, and industry.

Passing energy through storage inevitably results in losses associated with inefficiencies, however previous investigations have found that operation of electricity storage can result in increased CO2 emissions even if the storage has a turnaround efficiency of 100% [2]: if the output from a relatively high carbon source (such as unabated gas or coal) is increased to charge the storage, and the output from a relatively low carbon source is reduced when the storage is discharged, then the result will be a net increase in CO2 emissions.

However, these effects had not been considered recently for Great Britain, and little attention had been given to the extent to which they vary by location. We sought to fill this gap in the knowledge through our study.

We made use of data from National Grid’s regional Carbon Intensity API and ELEXON’s P114 dataset to determine the source of electricity consumed in each of Great Britain’s 14 electricity distribution zones for each half-hour period in 2019 (annual sums shown in Figure 1).

Figure 1: The share of electricity consumption by region and source in Great Britain in 2019.

With these data, we used linear regression techniques [3] to calculate half-hourly “marginal emissions factors” for each distribution zone. These tell us the change in CO2 emissions that occurs as a result of a change to grid electricity demand, disaggregated by time and location. These regional marginal emissions factors were then used to assess the impact of electricity storage operation on grid CO2 emissions in three different storage operating scenarios:

  1. Load levelling, whereby storage is charged at times of low demand and discharged at times of high demand.
  2. Wind balancing, whereby storage is charged at times of high wind output and discharged at times of low wind output.
  3. Reducing wind curtailment, whereby storage is charged using excess wind generation that would otherwise be curtailed and discharged at times of high demand.

The resulting emissions reductions are shown for selected distribution zones and Great Britain as a whole in Figure 2. Wind balancing is the only storage operating mode that leads to increased CO2 emissions, and emissions are reduced the most when storage is operated to reduce wind curtailment in regions with high levels of fossil generation.

Across all regions and operating modes, the difference between the highest reduction in emissions and the highest increase is significant, at 741 gCO2 per kWh discharged, and is roughly equivalent to the reduction in emissions per unit achieved by fitting a coal power plant with carbon capture and storage.

Figure 2: Potential emissions reduction through storage operation for the three operating scenarios, in six selected distribution zones and Great Britain as a whole in 2019.

While electricity storage will be a key component in future low carbon energy systems, our work has shown the importance of storage location and operating mode to its operational emissions and the possible dangers of evaluating emissions using average emissions factors. We are currently using these new techniques to investigate the lifecycle emissions of storage and smart EV charging across the EU.


References

[1] Pimm AJ, Palczewski J, Barbour ER, Cockerill TT. Using electricity storage to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Applied Energy. 2021;282:116199.
[2] Denholm P, Kulcinski GL. Life cycle energy requirements and greenhouse gas emissions from large scale energy storage systems. Energy Conversion and Management. 2004;45:2153-72.
[3] Hawkes AD. Estimating marginal CO2 emissions rates for national electricity systems. Energy Policy. 2010;38:5977-87.

A CESI researcher’s secondment journey to the Government – Dr Zoya Pourmirza

The year 2020 will be remembered as an extraordinary year with the news of COVID outbreak. In January 2020, I started my one-year secondment as an advisor providing technical consultation to the UK Government Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV)”.

About the Author

dsc01229

Dr Zoya Pourmirza, is a research associate at Newcastle University within the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. She was awarded her PhD in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Architecture for Smart Grids from University of Manchester in 2015. Her research expertise includes Smart Grids ICT networks, cyber-security, communication energy efficiency, and data compression.

Zoya carries out a wide range of research for CESI in the area of cyber-security on energy and transport systems.

Contact:- Zoya.Pourmirza@newcastle.ac.uk

The UK Government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) is a cross-government team between the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, supporting the transition to zero emission vehicles (ZEVs). As soon as I started, following a warm welcome from the team, I was impressed by devotion and dedication of the team. Within a few months into the role, while I was enjoying working with the team and gaining new experiences, the UK went into the lockdown. In the following months, we moved all our activities to online platforms which are known to all of us.

This secondment was planned to assist shaping a more secure EV eco-system in future. In 2019, Government consulted on cyber security requirements for smart chargepoints. There is an intention to follow with legislation mandating requirements for smart chargepoints, including cyber security, in 2021. My work was intended to help informing Government approach in 2021 legislation.

My tasks during this Secondment was to support different workstreams with OZEV and wider work in BEIS on smart energy cybersecurity. This included:

Project 1 – EVHS grant scheme

Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) is a grant provided by the OZEV, designed to offer an additional incentive to EV drivers. EV manufacturers who wish to apply for authorisation for chargepoints under EVHS should confirm they comply with EVHS technical specifications. In terms of cyber security specifications, OZEV requires chargepoints to be accessed by using the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP v1.6 or above). During my time at DfT I assessed how many EVHS grant applications were likely meeting or not complying with requirements on cyber security, and if these applications are considering a similar level of cyber security measures provided in the OCPP. I also recommended some specific changes to be made to the scheme requirements, which are being considered by Government.

Project 2BSI PAS review

The British Standards Institution (BSI) has been sponsored by Government to develop two PAS standards. The PAS 1878 is for Energy Smart Appliances (ESA), including smart chargepoint cyber security requirements and PAS 1879 is for a Demand Side Response (DSR) framework. The DSR framework PAS is intending to develop the ‘environment’ within which ESAs can operate. Both PAS’s involved cyber security considerations. The cyber security approaches employed in these standards are encryption and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). The end-to-end secure framework is intended to:

  • provide secure assets, these assets are such as Energy Smart Appliance (ESA) and Consumer Energy Manager (CEM)
  • verify the actors such as Demand Side Response Provider (DSRSP)
  • provide a secure communication between ESA and CEM, and between CEM and DSRSP

During my time at BEIS, I reviewed the draft PAS standards at different stages of their development and recommended a series of changes to improve the standard and better embed cyber security within them. These comments were welcomed by the standard leads, and it is expected to be reflected in the final version.

Project 3 Cyber risk assessments – I worked along the BEIS team and the PA consulting on cyber risk assessment for smart energy systems to identify the risks and shape appropriate mitigations techniques. This work is underway within the BEIS team and will be completed in 2021. In this study we realised that as the proliferation of smart energy devices including EV smart chargepoints and associated smart energy platforms increases, the cyber security risks will grow too. These risks will become material in 2025. For example, the ability for a large number of smart energy devices to be switched on or off at the same time, which will cause a large power swing on the electricity network, is one of the main risks identified by the team.

Project 4 – Reports and recommendations

I shaped a report for the Government discussing the cyber security challenges in smart energy system and EV chargepoints, the risks and mitigation techniques, and the future roadmap. The recommendation provided in this report could potentially inform the legislation this year.

Thoughts on the experience

All these tasks were carried out to pave the way for a more secure future of the EV ecosystem. My sincere thanks to both teams at the Newcastle University and the Government who provided this unique opportunity for me to get involved in Government’s policy development and legislation process and develop new skills. This was an extremely valuable experience working at the heart of civil service to provide consultation and apply my expertise to help meet the key government objectives for EV smart charging.

Achieving net-zero in the UK through an integrated energy system

The Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, recently rejected permission for an open cast mine near Druridge Bay, stating that the proposal “is still not environmentally acceptable”. This announcement follows a lengthy decision process and extensive media coverage, including a Public Inquiry and an appeal to the High Court. In this blog CESI Director, Dr Sara Walker, comments on the case which was supported by evidence presented by CESI’s previous Director, Prof Phil Taylor on CESI’s whole systems approach to energy systems integration.

Druridge Bay, Northumberland

About the author: Dr Sara Walker

Dr Sara Walker is Director of the EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration, Director of the Newcastle University Centre for Energy and Reader of Energy in the University’s School of Engineering. Her research is on energy efficiency and renewable energy at building scale.

Contact details
email: sara.walker@ncl.ac.uk

In 2014, a proposal was put forward to remove 3 million tonnes of coal from an opencast mine at Highthorn, close to Druridge Bay, on the Northumberland coast. The proposed developer, HJ Banks & Co Ltd, argued coal fired power stations are essential for the security of the UK’s energy supply and in July 2016, planning permission for the mine was approved by Northumberland County Council.

In a landmark move, central Government called a Public Inquiry on the grounds of climate change – the first time any planning permission decision has been called to inquiry on this basis.

In March 2018, the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid stated he had concluded the project should not go ahead on the grounds that it would exacerbate climate change. This rejection was the first time any planning permission decision has been refused on this basis, setting a precedent for all future applications.  This was seen as a significant step in taking tackling climate change seriously, showing the UK to be leading in this regard.

Following the announcement of the planning rejection, Banks lodged an appeal in the High Court.  The High Court found in favour of Banks in October 2018, returning the case to the Communities Secretary to reconsider the arguments presented.

At the Planning Inquiry, the expert witness for Banks argued that if coal fired power stations are phased out, a significant number of new gas fired power stations would be required, providing 7GW of gas generation. They also claimed other cleaner sources of energy cannot be relied upon as a consistent source of energy. Wind power, for example, provides an intermittent source of energy as the wind does not always blow. Similarly, the sun does not always shine, so photovoltaic systems will not generate sufficient energy. For these reasons, opening the new mine would have been an important step in ensuring that the UK maintains a good supply of coal for its power stations. However, there is no single source of fuel that provides the energy to satisfy the whole of the UK’s energy requirements. Instead, it is essential to take a whole systems approach when considering the UK’s energy mix.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) collates data on the UK’s energy generation mix.  The latest figures were released in July 2020 [1] and compare data for 2019 against previous years.  The shares of electricity generation by fuel in 2018 and 2019 are illustrated in Figure 1. These show that gas generated electricity increased slightly to 40.6%.  Electricity from renewables (wind, hydro, solar, wave, tidal and bioenergy) achieved a record high of 37.1% (121TWh), which is the first time renewables have provided over a third of the total generation mix. During the same period, the share of electricity generated from coal reduced to 2.1% (6.9TWh).  This represents a record low, down 59% compared to 2018.  The figures show that coal is declining in importance and that we have many options to replace it.

Figure 1 The share of electricity generation by fuel in 2018 and 2019 [1]

An integrated energy system

In his expert witness testimony to the Public Inquiry, CESI’s former Director and current Associate Director, Professor Phil Taylor, emphasised the need to take a whole systems view, highlighting CESI’s research into an integrated energy system. The UK can phase out coal-fired power stations by increasing the utilisation of existing gas facilities plus a small increase in capacity in power from gas and combining this with power produced from renewables such as wind, biomass and PV. We can store energy when we have more than is needed, or when there is too much for network cables to carry, and then release it when is required. Britain also imports electricity via physical links known as interconnectors. The UK energy regulator, Ofgem, forecasts that planned interconnector projects will lead to a capacity of 7.3GW by 2021 (compared to total GB system generation capacity of 77.9GW in 2019). In addition, the electricity demand could be managed through Demand Side Response (DSR), where consumers are given incentives to reduce their energy demand by reducing usage or turning off non‐essential items when there is a peak in electricity demand.

CESI evidence therefore showed that, by balancing supply and demand on the electricity grid, we can phase out coal and reduce the need to build new power stations. An additional benefit of decarbonising our energy system more rapidly is that this offers the opportunity to also decarbonise our transport and heat sectors.

“We are delighted that evidence provided by the National Centre for Energy Systems Integration has supported this landmark decision to reject further extraction of coal on grounds of Climate Change. Our work has clearly demonstrated that a Whole Systems approach with Systems Integration can enable us to decarbonise our energy systems whilst maintaining reliability and security of supply”

Director of CESI, Dr Sara Walker

Net Zero

In September 2020, the Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, rejected the open cast mine, stating that  the “substantial extent of the landscape harm means that the proposal is still not environmentally acceptable, nor can it be made so by planning conditions or obligations”. 

This decision will help the UK to achieve its target to phase out coal by 1 October 2024, announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in February 2020. It will also the support the ambitious aims of cutting carbon emissions targets set by councils in the North East of England.  These include Northumberland County Council, which has set the target of being carbon neutral by 2030.  The implications of this decision for our future energy supply are significant and will affect us all.

——————————–

  1. Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics 2020, Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/924591/DUKES_2020_MASTER.pdf [accessed 9/10/2020]

Where is the value in cost, carbon and resilience in taking an energy systems integration approach to the UK’s energy future?

Researchers and Academics from the EPSRC funded Supergen Energy Networks Hub and the National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI), Dr Adib Allahham, Dr Hamid Hosseini, Dr Vahid Vahidinasab, Dr Sara Walker & Professor Phil Taylor, recently published their journal paper in the International Journal of Electrical Power and Energy Systems on Techno-economic-environmental evaluation framework for integrated gas and electricity distribution networks considering impact of different storage configurations.

About the author: Dr Adib Allahham

Adib is a Research Associate within the Power Systems Research Team, School of Engineering, Newcastle University and currently works on several projects including the EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI) and the Supergen Energy Networks Hub.  Adib received his PhD from the University of Joseph Fourier in the field of control engineering. His research involves projects around the electricity distribution and off-grid power sector and multi-vector energy systems. These projects are addressing the need to cost efficiently decarbonise the energy sector over the next thirty years by facilitating innovative network integration of new generation, and the integration of different energy vectors (electricity, gas, and heat). Computer simulation, laboratory investigation and demonstration projects are used together to produce new knowledge that delivers this requirement. He has published more than 25 technical papers in leading journals and conferences.

Contact Details
email: adib.allahham@ncl.ac.uk @adiballhham

About the Paper

Governments around the world are working hard to reduce their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. In the UK, the government has set a target of “Net Zero” GHG emissions by 2050 in order to reduce contribution to global warming [1]. This necessitates the integration of more Renewable Energy Sources (RESs) into the energy networks and consequently reduction in the use of fossil fuels while meeting and reducing energy demand.

To achieve this objective flexibly and reliably, it may be necessary to couple the energy networks using several network coupling components such as gas turbine (GT), power-to-gas (P2G) and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) [2]. Also, the energy networks may benefit from different types of Energy Storage Systems (ESSs) in order to be able to compensate for any energy carrier deficit or other constraints in energy supply in any of the networks [3].

In order to comprehensively study multi-vector integrated energy systems and analyse ESS potentials, a Techno-Economic-Environmental (TEE) evaluation framework needs to be designed to investigate the mutual impacts of each of the networks on the operational, economic and environmental performance of others. This is the main aim of this study.

The paper divides ESS into two different categories of Single Vector Storage (SVS) and Vector Coupling Storage (VCS).

Figure 1: A conceptual representation of SVS and VCS storage devices in an Integrated Gas and Electricity Distribution Network (IGEDN)

A literature review looked at models which have been used to perform planning of the whole energy system of several countries taking into account all layers of the energy system, as well as different types of energy storage in multi-vector energy networks. As well as using a case study from a rural area in Scotland which is connected to the electricity distribution network only, also benefitting from a small wind farm and roof-top PV’s.

Fig. 2. The schematic of the studied rural area in Scotland including the separate gas and electricity networks (without considering P2G and VCS) and IGEDN (with considering P2G and VCS) [4]

A framework was developed as a result of the literature review carried out and this was tested on the real-world rural area in Scotland.  The evaluation framework provides the ability to perform TEE operational analysis of future scenarios of Integrated Gas and Electricity Distribution Networks (IGEDN).  Several specifications and achievements from this study are identified in the paper which is available to read online and will be published in the November issue of the Journal.


[1] Committee on Climate Change. Net Zero – The UKś contribution to stopping global warming, 2019. Google Scholar
[2] S. Clegg, P. MancarellaIntegrated electrical and gas network flexibility assessment in low-carbon multi-energy systems IEEE Trans Sustainable Energy, 7 (2) (2016), pp. 718-731 CrossRefView Record in ScopusGoogle Scholar
[3] S.H.R. Hosseini, A. Allahham, P. TaylorTechno-economic-environmental analysis of integrated operation of gas and electricity networks 2018 IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS) (2018), pp. 1-5 CrossRefView Record in ScopusGoogle Scholar
[4] EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI). https://www.ncl.ac.uk/cesi/, 2017.

Optimal planning and operation of multi-vector energy networks: A systematic review [1]

Academics from the EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI) and the Supergen Energy Networks Hub Dr Hamid Hosseini, Dr Adib Allahham, Dr Sara Walker and Prof Phil Taylor recently published their journal paper in Elsevier’s prestigious journal Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews (impact factor 12.11).

About the author

Dr Hamid Hosseini joined Newcastle University in 2017 as a postdoctoral research associate to the EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI).  Since joining the team, Hamid has been actively involved in research looking at planning, optimisation and operational analysis of integrated multi-vector energy networks. He also collaborated with a multi-disciplinary team on the UKRI Research and Innovation Infrastructure (RII) roadmap project, advising UKRI on the current landscape and future roadmap of Energy RIIs. He has supported and collaborated with several CESI Flex Fund projects to investigate further various aspects of Energy Systems Integration (ESI). Moreover, he is working with the Executive Board of Northern Gas Networks to identify the potential energy systems challenges that could be investigated at the Customer Energy Village of the Integrated Transport Electricity Gas Research Laboratory (InTEGReL), through collaboration with a multi-disciplinary team of  energy experts in industry and academia.

Contact email: hamid.hosseini@ncl.ac.uk and profile details

The international aspiration to reach net zero carbon in energy systems by 2050 is growing. In the UK, the government has set a target of ‘Net Zero’ Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 in order to reduce contribution to global warming [2]. This necessitates performing energy evaluation through a system-of-systems approach, in order to understand the intrinsic properties of the main layer/sections of the Integrated Energy Systems (IESs), from natural resources and distribution to the final energy user as well as the interactions and interdependencies within each layer/section [3].

This paper provides a systematic review of recent publications on simulation and analysis of integrated multi-vector energy networks (rather than energy hubs) and carries this out through the lens of the internationally accepted concept of the energy trilemma, i.e. Flexibility of Operation, Security of Supply and Affordability. The significant detail included in the paper and the link to the trilemma is required in order to identify gaps and directions for an appropriate future applied research for facilitating the path to a decarbonised economy.

A systematic literature review of nearly 200 published papers was carried out using keywords to analyse Integrated Energy Networks (IENs). The papers have a wide, international authorship (Figure 1), showing that the topic of energy networks analysis is an important topic for governments around the world, as this supports meeting carbon reduction targets. 

Figure 1 The number of reviewed papers from different countries, based on the affiliation of the first author

The reviewed papers were classified into three groups (i) Operational analysis (ii) Optimal dispatch and (iii) Optimal planning, focussing on energy networks including gas, electricity and district heating networks as well as their interactions and interdependencies.

Figure 2 The three subject groups of papers reviewed and their topics

A detailed evaluation of the energy trilemma was carried out for each of the three groups of papers.

The paper looks at key findings, provides insights for the energy research community towards pursuit of low carbon transition and makes recommendations for future research priorities including: (i) development and demonstration of cyber resilient smart energy management frameworks, (ii) ways to overcome organisational and regulatory barriers for future increased energy networks integration, (iii) uncertainty analysis of the future performance of IENs, (iv) potential economic value of energy systems integration and (v) deployment of smart multi-energy regions.

The full paper, will appear in the November 2020 issue of the Elsevier Journal, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, and is available to view online.

J.RSER

References:

[1] Hosseini, SHR, Allahham, A, Walker, SL, Taylor, P. (2020). Optimal planning and operation of multi-vector energy networks: A systematic review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 133. DOI: j.rseer.2020.110216

[2] Committee on Climate Change. Net Zero – the UK’s contribution to stopping global warming. 2019. accessed, https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/ net-zero-the-uks-contribution-to-stopping-global-warming/. [Accessed 28 October 2019].

[3] Eusgel I, Nan C, Dietz S. System-of-systems approach for interdependent critical infrastructures. Reliab Eng Syst Saf 2011;96(6):679–86.

How far does the Ofgem Decarbonisation Action Plan support the transition to a net zero UK?

Dr Sara Walker and Professor Janusz Bialek comment on the recently published Ofgem Decarbonisation Action Plan.


About the authors

Dr Sara Walker is Associate Director of the EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration, Director of the Newcastle University Centre for Energy and Reader of Energy in the University’s School of Engineering. Her research is on energy efficiency and renewable energy at building scale.

Contact details: sara.walker@ncl.ac.uk

Profile details

Professor Janusz Bialek FIEEE is Professor of Power Energy Systems in the School of Engineering, Newcastle University. Janusz’s background is in power systems but he has closely collaborated with economists, mathematicians and social scientists. He has published widely on technical and economic integration of renewable generation in power systems, smart grids, power system dynamics, preventing electricity blackouts and power markets.

Contact details: janusz.bialek@ncl.ac.uk

Profile details


While most our worries relate now to the COVID-19 pandemic, we should not forget about the biggest long-term threat to the human race – the climate emergency. In this blog we comment on a recently published “Ofgem decarbonisation action plan” which is a welcome opportunity to see the thoughts of the regulator on the unprecedented need for rapid transitions in our energy systems.

The plan provides some context to the 2050 net zero target with a graph (Fig. 1), showing a 40% reduction in GHG emissions over the period 1990 to 2017. However, the linear reduction proposed from 2017 to 2050 is perhaps misleading the sector in thinking the 27 year 40% reduction to 2017 is similar to the rate of change we now need moving forward. This is not the case, we need an exponential decrease in emissions if we are to come close to the targets set by the Conference of the Parties in Paris. Also it should be appreciated that the closer we get to the net-zero target, the more difficult and costly it will be to reduce the emissions any further. The reason is that once the cheapest means have been exhausted (so-called low-hanging fruits), more expensive ones will have to be used.

Source: Ofgem (2020) Ofgem decarbonisation action plan. London, Ofgem.

Much of the discussion in the Ofgem plan talks about the need for better interconnection across the energy vectors, and across uses/users. In discussing the power sector, the report refers to key scenarios in the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) report and therefore Ofgem assume Carbon Capture and Storage is needed in order for gas generation to continue. This is an area of contention for the CCC report, since Carbon Capture and Storage technology is currently not commercially available. Alongside gas is nuclear generation, and the Ofgem report assumes nuclear and gas will generate 50% of the UK’s electricity needs. The competitiveness of new nuclear is uncertain, with new offshore wind prices under the Contracts for Difference Scheme being cost competitive with the fixed price of electricity to be generated by the new Hinkley power plant (although one has to acknowledge that nuclear power provides a better security of supply than relatively highly variable and less predictable wind power).

Greater strategic co-ordination and increased investment in generation, network infrastructure, stoppage and other flexibility services are all raised as important in the plan. However, what has not been made clear is a need for a substantial network investment in view of electrification of transport and heat. The report concentrates on the need for proper price controls for network companies but does not address the question by how much the current power network has to be expanded and how to do it in the face of fierce public opposition to construction of new lines.

To understand the problem, check the diagram below which shows seasonal variations in the demand for electricity (blue), non-daily-metered gas demand (red) and total gas demand (amber). Clearly gas demand (which largely corresponds to the heat demand) dwarfs the electricity demand both on average and in terms of seasonal variations. The Ofgem plan recommends that decarbonisation of heat be through a combination of heat pumps, hydrogen and heat networks, but that heat pumps will likely contribute the majority of the heat demand.

Source: Deakin et al (2020) Calculations of System Adequacy Considering Heat Transition Pathways (arXiv:2002.11570v1)

With regards transport, the Ofgem plan talks about the current >30 million cars in the UK in 2019, and the expected 46m electric vehicles by 2050. “Increased uptake of electric vehicles creates a rare opportunity for a win-win-win for society”. 46m electric cars in the UK by 2050 will mean significant increases in congestion, and significant increase in electricity demand, along side some (albeit reduced) emissions. We would welcome a greater emphasis on public transport, rail and the heavy and light goods vehicle sectors.
Hence electrification of heat (either directly or by heat pumps) and transport would require not only a substantial new generation capacity but also a significant strengthening of both the transmission and distribution networks. But how to do it when any attempts in the past to build a new, or even strengthen an existing, transmission line (see the case of Beauly-Denny line) led to years of arguing and public enquiries? We simply do not have time for that. This is a big elephant in the room.

Flexibility is key to minimise the overall system costs (again check the diagram above to appreciate large fluctuations in energy demand) but the needs are currently highly uncertain given the assumptions around generation from wind, solar and nuclear (all of which are relatively inflexible), along with a potential reduction in load flexibility if significant energy efficiency measures are achieved in future.

Currently the Electricity System Operator (ESO) monitors only transmission connected wind and solar generation and has no direct means of monitoring the distribution-connected generation (DG). This makes it difficult for the ESO to balance the system, and DG was already one of the contributing factors to the GB outage on 9 August 2019. The situation is becoming increasingly difficult to manage, as DG was already 1/3 of installed generation capacity in 2018 and is bound to increase more. In other countries, like e.g. Ireland, the System Operator has visibility of all plants bigger than 5 MW and we see no reasons why GB should be any different.

The Ofgem plan states that regulator has a responsibility to consider the distribution of costs for system changes, particularly for vulnerable customers. Early adopters of technology such as EVs and smart controls are better placed to benefit from energy transitions (since early adopters are usually more wealthy), and those left behind are often in the lowest socio-economic groups. If the costs and benefits of energy transitions fall on different groups, in different locations, at different points in time, then the regulator will need to consider trade-offs in light of its core priorities of protecting the environment, supporting customers, and delivering competition. Perhaps these core priorities need to be weighted, or revised, in light of the Climate Emergency.