Energy Modelling for Low Carbon Futures

Effective decision-making requires good advice. Good advice is dependent on informed use of evidence both in terms of developing policy (such as rigorous analysis of a problem, analysis of social values, analysis of political context, and analysis of economic impacts) and in evaluating its effect once implemented (uptake capacity). As we transition to a low-carbon future, national energy policy strives to support decarbonisation targets maximising the benefit for all citizens. Yet existing modelling of future deployment pathways provide indications of possible fuel mix and emission impacts resulting from policy interventions but falls short in its ability to place those outcomes firmly in the context of new stresses and requirements on electricity infrastructure.

UCD Energy Institute, through its EMPowER Energy Model, is utilizing the highest quality research-derived evidence to inform energy policy development in Ireland for the 2030 and 2050 timeframes. EMPowER represents a step beyond theoretical energy pathways to achieve a vital reflection of how/whether low-cost, low-emissions modelling outcomes can actually be delivered through Ireland’s physical transmission and distribution networks and through the ISEM market framework.

The Emissions and Fuel Mix, Markets and Costs, Power Flows and Networks, and End Use & Rates of Uptake (EMPowER) modelling approach draws on the unique multidisciplinary expertise available at UCD Energy Institute to present a more complete understanding of the impacts of decarbonisation of electricity, as well as electrification of heating and transport, to ensure that policies targeting these areas are data-driven and realisable.

The modelling output will be of clear import and utility not only for policymakers in making key cross-sectoral strategic decisions but for actors across the energy sector who will benefit from more informative and precise analysis of Irish networks and market arrangements.