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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K005316/1
Title: Realising Transition Pathways - Whole Systems Analysis for a UK More Electric Low Carbon Energy Future
Principal Investigator: Hammond, Professor GP
Other Investigators:
Infield, Professor D Strbac, Professor G Foxon, Professor TJ
Ault, Dr G Strachan, Professor N Chilvers, Professor JD
Pearson, Professor PJG Leach, Professor M Wehrmeyer, Dr W
Thomson, Dr M Galloway, Professor S
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Organisation: University of Bath
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 May 2012 Ends: 30 April 2016 Value (£): 2,566,732
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The project will extend the work of the Transition Pathways project, in which an innovative collaboration

between engineers, social scientists and policy analysts developed and analysed a set of 'transition

pathways' towards a UK low carbon electricity system. The pathways aimed to meet the UK's target of an

80% cut on 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The team developed and applied tools to

analyse the technical feasibility, social acceptability and environmental and economic impacts of these

pathways. The research built a sound platform from which to address the challenge of realising a low

carbon transition.

The aim of the new project is to explore what needs to be done to achieve a transition that successfully

addresses the energy policy 'trilemma', i.e. the simultaneous delivery of low carbon, secure and affordable

energy services. We focus on electricity, but in a context that includes the electrical provision of heat and

transport, and key EU developments and policies. The project will inform thinking and decision-making

about technological and behavioural developments, and the roles of key energy system 'actors',

governance arrangements and regulations in a low carbon transition. The team will:

1. Analyse actors' choices and decisions in past, current and prospective developments in electricity

supply and demand;

2. Analyse the social, behavioural and technical drivers and implications of electricity users' responses

to incentives on the demand side and how to integrate these responses into electricity systems;

3. Undertake techno-economic modelling and energy and environmental assessments of the

developments in electricity supply (including transmission and distribution networks) needed to

meet this responsive demand.

This research will inform decision-making by central and local government policy-makers, energy firms -

both incumbents and new entrants, and civil society groups with an interest in energy policy. Following

analysis by the Committee on Climate Change and in view of its commitments under national and

European targets, the UK government is envisioning a rapid expansion of low-carbon electricity generation

as a key means of moving towards a low carbon economy. However, this will require significant and interconnected

changes in the patterns of energy service demands, market and regulatory frameworks and

energy company business models, as well as technological innovation and deployment. This research aims

to inform decision-making by:

1. investigating how the choices and interactions of actors and structural factors could contribute to the

realisation of low carbon pathways, and what are likely to be key decision or branching points;

2. assessing the role of future demand responses, understanding the factors that drive energy demand

and energy-using behaviour, and integrating this analysis within a whole-systems framework of

electricity system development;

3. developing a set of interacting and complementary tools to analyse electricity network infrastructure

investment and operational decisions, in order to model decisions to invest in the range of fossil

and low carbon generation, taking into account market design and subsidy mechanisms;

4. appraising the energy and environmental performance of the technological mix, on a whole systems

basis, analysing future economic costs, benefits, risks and returns, and uncertainties, and using

economic models to explore wider social welfare, growth and employment impacts.

These strands of research will be brought together to form a 'whole systems analysis' of the technical,

environmental, economic, and social implications of alternative transition pathways to a UK low carbon

electricity future.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.bath.ac.uk