Consortium for Modelling and Analysis of Decentralised Energy Storage

Project: Research

Project participants


Around 80% of the UK population lives in urban areas, with cities being responsible for about 70% of UK energy use. As a consequence, the importance of cities in tackling key energy and environmental targets is increasingly being recognised. However, meeting these targets will require much of the urban infrastructure to be adapted and renewed to meet the increasing demands for energy services from city residents, while making the transition to a low-carbon economy. Two key challenges for urban infrastructure are: (i) meeting the expected increase in demand for (low carbon) electricity (including new sources of demand for heat and transport), while integrating a variety of (often variable) renewable supply options (including building integrated PV and wind systems) and (ii) increasing the proportion of low carbon heat (and potentially coolth) supply to homes and offices, with likely sources of low carbon heat including air source heat pumps and combined heat and power and district heating schemes using biomass and waste heat.

Various forms of decentralised electricity and heat storage could play an important role in meeting these challenges through helping to match supply and demand over periods from seconds to days, maximising the utilisation of existing and new infrastructure, providing links between heat and electricity systems so allowing trade-offs between the two and ensuring secure energy supplies. However, we currently have a poor understanding of the optimal deployment configurations and applications for decentralised electricity and heat storage within the urban environment, any changes to the policy and regulatory environment that would be needed to remove barriers to their deployment, the business models and revenue streams that might make a commercial proposition and the public attitudes to the deployment of different types of storage.

This project will use a variety of tools and methods, including technology validation, techno-economic modelling, innovation studies and public attitude surveys, to address specific barriers to the deployment of city-scale energy storage and demonstrate these methods and tools through a number of case studies analysing opportunities for energy storage deployment in the cities of Birmingham and Leeds. The novelty and adventure of our approach can be found both within the individual work packages and in the way that the findings are integrated together and applied in the case studies. So for example, our techno-economic modelling will consider specific (rather than generic) distributed energy storage technologies based on validated data from laboratory and field trials and not idealised data from the literature; our work on policy, regulatory and business models will draw on the real-world experience of our project partners in trying to make a business from operating distributed energy storage in current and likely future market conditions and our work on public attitudes will be the first study of its kind in the UK to examine distributed energy storage.