(341a) Decarbonising Residential Heating to Achieve Net Zero in the UK: A Whole-System Optimisation

Penman, J. - Presenter, University of Bath
Samsatli, S., University of Bath
Through the Climate Change Act, the UK government has committed to emitting net zero greenhouse gases by the year 2050. Achieving this will involve decarbonising the heating sector, including converting 24 million residential buildings from natural gas to low-carbon heating and ensuring there is the energy generation, transport, and storage infrastructure to support this. The main options available include using electric heating, such as heat pumps and electric storage heating, and using hydrogen-based heating. Each option involves considerable changes to the entire energy system, either installing renewable electricity generation technologies and upgrading the electricity grid in the case of electric heating, or deploying renewable hydrogen production technologies and converting the natural gas grid to transport hydrogen in the case of hydrogen-based heating.

The aim of this study is to determine what a net zero heating sector and overall energy system in the UK should look like (in terms of what technologies should be used, what generation, storage and transportation infrastructure should be used, and where everything should be located) if the goal is to minimise costs to the whole system. To achieve this, a mixed integer linear programming model, the Value Web Model, was developed to model and optimise scenarios for the UK energy system. The model can determine what technologies should be deployed in order to generate, transport, store, and utilise energy to meet energy demands, including where and when the technologies should be deployed, to minimise whole-system costs. The results will be discussed in terms of the strategies available to achieve net zero and will compare possible futures for the UK in terms of which technologies are deployed, where they are located, and what infrastructure will be required. This will also consider how costs distribution and stakeholder impacts vary between scenarios. This work contributes to the analysis of strategy options available for the decarbonisation of heat and the decisions to be made about the future of heating in the UK.