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CHP & DSM's starring role in Greenpeace 2030 Energy Scenarios

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A new report from Greenpeace shows how a tripling in fossil fuel and renewable CHP would help the UK meet its power decarbonisation goals in a way that would be technically, socially and economically viable.

The report is based on an advanced modelling process to design, test and iterate a 2030 energy scenario that can demonstrably overcome the specific technical, infrastructural and engineering problems associated with migrating to a radically decarbonised power sector.

Most importantly, the Greenpeace report shows how both fossil fuel and renewable CHP, alongside demand side management, can help deliver a nearly-decarbonised UK electricity system at least cost in 2030.

Greenpeace's scenario focuses on CHP used by community heating schemes and calls for an installed capacity of 21.5GW in 2030, 64% of DECC's technical potential estimate for 2030 and a 350% increase on today's installed capacity. In addition it assumes that 23% of this will be renewably fuelled (in comparison to 11% today). Greenpeace conclude that this contribution falls "well in line with official forecasts and expectation". 

Greenpeace also recognises that while some CHP can be run flexibly, many CHP sites are heat-lead and unable to follow demand, a welcome recognition of CHP’s primary role as a heat-led technology.

A key feature of the scenario is its exclusion of CCS and a requirement for a considerable reduction in domestic heat demand (by some 57%). Each available technology is categorised into a phase. Heat led CHP would be one of the first technologies to be called upon, along with renewable generation and base load nuclear and phase one. Interestingly, the use of industrial DSM is the last method called on to balance the grid in Greenpeace's scenario. While domestic DSM is called upon in the third phase, non domestic DSM is one of the final solutions to be used, being called upon in phase five.

Demand Side Management (DSM)

The scenario favours the use of domestic demand side management enabled by the installation of smart meters. Greenpeace's decision was to explore the most onerous DSM requirement on households. Existing research suggests that frequent requests for reductions above 10% are likely to prompt a negative response from householders. Greenpeace sought to model how frequently these types of requests would be required in order to create a 'worst case scenario' for domestic DSM. By placing domestic DSM within phase three, above other solutions, householders would be required to participate much more than if they were placed at the bottom. 

The report concluded that 'Prospering Suburbs household' (a detached property with an above average gas bill) would experience the most onerous participation within DSM, being required to reduce consumption by more than 10% on 4.7 % of July/August weekdays, with a further 17.2 % of those days requiring a shift in demand of less than 10%. For 'prospering suburbs household', a 10% reduction would equate to around 60 watts - the equivalent of turning off a high power laptop.  

The extent of the role of non domestic DSM would be contingent on the success of the proceeding phases' technologies to balance supply and demand.  

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Guest Monday, 18 February 2019