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Action needed now to address major challenges to GB power system

01 October 2015


There are significant challenges facing the GB power system that require urgent action to ensure we continue to enjoy an economic and secure electricity system, according to a new report published today.

Modelling Requirements for GB Power System Resilience, published today by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), looks at what changes are required to the power system due to the take-up of low-carbon technology. The report considers future developments such as the smart grid and smart cities & communities, which are likely to include autonomous zones embedded within the electricity system.

The report, produced for the Council of Science and Technology (CST), concludes that failure to address electricity system ‘modelling gaps’ could have serious consequences for system resilience in the near-term and the delivery of low-carbon targets in the mid-term.

The complexity and connectivity of the identified issues requires a coordinated response from stakeholders across the electricity supply chain.

Simon Harrison, Chair of the IET Energy Policy Panel, said: “The report looks at what needs to be done to develop energy modelling capabilities to ensure that we understand fully the technical implications of moving to a low carbon system, and hence that our future electricity system can be fit for purpose.

“The report considers such things as a large increase in the number and locations of small generators such as solar panels and community energy schemes being connected to the grid. These modelling capabilities help us understand and identify what the implications and potential solutions could be to such scenarios.

“As our electricity system is undergoing major changes to deal with low carbon challenges there is a significant need for new energy modelling capabilities looking into things that have not needed to be investigated before. Without these modelling capabilities we will struggle to adapt our electricity system effectively meaning costs and carbon emissions could go up and resilience could go down.”

Sir Mark Walport (Government Chief Scientific Adviser) said on the completion of this work:

“The take up of low-carbon technology will present challenges to the planning and operation of our electricity system in Great Britain. This valuable report highlights a useful range of options to meet the electricity system modelling challenges that require action as we make the move to a low-carbon economy.”
The IET was commissioned by the Council of Science and Technology (CST) to research the emerging challenges for modelling electricity systems and how Britain’s modelling capabilities would need to be adapted to assess electricity system resilience as GB makes the transition to a low-carbon electricity system.

For more information, visit http://www.theiet.org/sectors/energy/resources/modelling-reports/index.cfm & www.theiet.org/pnjv

Media enquiries to:

Hannah Kellett
External Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1438 767336
Mob: +44 (0)7738 602426
Email: HKellett@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

  • Interview opportunities are available with IET spokespeople from a broad range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and women in engineering.
  • The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with over 163,000 members in 127 countries. It is also the most interdisciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.
  • The IET is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers.
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and change outdated perceptions about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.
  • For more information, visit www.theiet.org
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