Research can play an important role in informing evidence based policy and delivering societal benefit. Climate policy is a priority area for the Irish government and is underpinned by a robust EU framework. The European Green Deal commits to delivering net-zero greenhouse gas emissions at EU level by 2050 and has an EU-wide GHG emissions reduction target to at least 55% for 2030 in order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and align with the goal of the Paris Agreement. Ireland’s Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act (2021) sets out Ireland’s legally-binding objectives of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and targeting a 51% reduction of GHG emissions by 2030 (7% per annum) relative to 2018. The Climate Action Plan 2021 maps out a number of targets and actions which will help to support this ambition across different sectors including electricity, built environment, transport and agriculture.
Ongoing research at UCD Energy Institute aims to support the delivery of Ireland’s climate targets and provide support to policy development. This is carried out through a number of initiatives:
- UCD Energy Institute Insights Series – Ongoing research at UCD Energy Institute and with our collaborators covers a range of projects and research disciplines. While the academic publications are available through scientific journals, libraries and research websites, we have developed a series of topical papers in some of the different research areas that are targeted at a more diverse audience.
- EMPowER Project – UCD Energy Institute provides electricity systems modelling services to the Climate Action Modelling Group within Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) providing a unique contribution to their overall research and analysis capacity. This forms part of the national policy modelling capacity that draws on expertise from several different institutions.
- Consultation Responses/Other Papers – There are a number of consultations in the area of energy policy where the ongoing research at UCD Energy Institute can provide some useful insights. We endeavour to provide submissions to these consultations where relevant.
Further detail on these initiatives can be found below.
UCD Energy Institute Insights Series
Ongoing research at UCD Energy Institute and with our collaborators covers a range of projects and research disciplines. While the academic publications are available through online journals, libraries and research websites, we will also be publishing a series of topical papers in some of the different research areas that are targeted at a more diverse audience.
The UCD Energy Institute’s interdisciplinary modelling approach, informed by deep expertise in power systems, has led to the development of the Emissions and Fuel Mix, Markets and Costs, Power Flows and Networks, and End Use & Rates
of Uptake (EMPowER) modelling framework.
EMPowER offers integrated, comprehensive insights on achievability of a low-carbon future, from both an economic/policy perspective, as well from a technical and commercial point of view – a combination critical to formulating and executing sound energy and environmental policy.
Effective Climate Action entails particularly intensive technical and economic modelling. EMPowER provides electricity systems modelling services to the Climate Action Modelling Group within Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) providing a unique contribution to their overall research and analysis capacity. This forms part of the national policy modelling capacity that draws on expertise from several different institutions.
Figure 1. EMPowER Model Modules Schematic
The EMPowER modelling approach goes beyond legacy energy systems modelling with basic engineering parameters to examine with precision the effect of low-carbon technology outcomes on both distribution and transmission networks. In addition, EMPowER explores system costs and price impacts using market modelling that captures realistic outcomes under the Integrated Single Electricity Market (I-SEM). It consists of three interacting modelling approaches:
- Agent-based microsimulations of technology uptake. These models are calibrated to Irish survey and historical data, and include the economic, social and risk-aversion (barrier) effects that influence individual consumer decisions.
- AC powerflow models of new load and distributed energy resource impacts on the distribution network, focusing on voltage stability constraints.
- Unit commitment simulation of the operation of the future power generation systems with high RES-E (using VTT/UCD Backbone), to obtain marginal costs and emissions
- Mutual dependencies and feedbacks between the above.
The primary outputs of EMPowER are:
- Technical and engineering feasibility of various electricity load and shares of renewable energy in the electricity system
- Role of flexibility (consumer, demand-side-management) at DSO and TSO levels
- Impact of policy on clean technology uptake
- Net emissions reductions achievable within a given policy mix
- Integrated assessment of policy measure alternatives
Work is divided into three strands (1) technology adoption (2) distribution system and (3) transmission system (generation). There are very close links and overlaps between each of these strands.
Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles, March 2021
Decarbonising Passenger Cars – Gap to target, revenue to the exchequer, and distributional impact Report for the Department of Transport, July 2022
Hemmati, M., Mohammadi-Ivatloo, B., Soroudi, A. (2020) Chapter 2 – Uncertainty management in decision-making in power system operation, Editor(s): Shady H.E. Abdel Aleem, Almoataz Youssef Abdelaziz, Ahmed F. Zobaa, Ramesh Bansal, Decision Making Applications in Modern Power Systems, Academic Press, 2020, Pages 41-62, ISBN 9780128164457, https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-816445-7.00002-5.
Hodge, B.-M., Jain, H., Brancucci, C., Seo, G.-S., Korpås, M., Kiviluoma, J., Holttinen, H., Smith, J.c., Orths, A., Söder, L., Flynn, D., Vrana, T.K., Kenyon, R.W., Kroposki, B. (2020) Addressing Technical Challenges in 100% Variable Inverter-Based Renewable Energy Power Systems, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment, Vol. 9(5), e376, Sept/Oct 2020. https://doi.org/10.1002/wene.376
Holttinen, H., Kiviluoma, J., Flynn, D., Smith, J.c., Orths, A., Eriksen, P.B., Cutululis, N., Söder, L.,Korpås, M., Estanqueiro, A., MacDowell, J., Tuohy, A., Vrana, T.K. (2021) System impact studies for near 100% renewable energy systems dominated by inverter based variable generation, IEEE PowerTech, 27 June – 2 July 2021, Madrid, Spain. https://doi.org/10.1109/TPWRS.2020.3034924
Kiviluoma, J., Helistö, N., Putknonen, N., Smith, C., Koiviston, M., Korpås, M., Flynn, D., Söder, L., Taibi, E., Guminski, A. (2022) Flexibility From the Electrification of Energy: How Heating, Transport, and Industries Can Support a 100% Sustainable Energy System, IEEE Power and Energy Magazine, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 55-65, July-Aug. 2022, https://doi.org/10.1109/MPE.2022.3167576
Kiviluoma, J., O’Dwyer, C., Ikäheimo, J., Lahon, R., Li, R., Kirchem, D., Helistö, N., Rasku, T., Rinne, E., Flynn, D. (2021) Analysing wind and solar power integration with a multi-carrier energy system model of Ireland, IET RPG Conference, Dublin, Ireland, 1-2 March 2021. https://doi.org/10.1049/icp.2021.1385
Kiviluoma, J., O’Dwyer, C., Ikäheimo, J., Lahon, R., Li, R., Kirchem, D., Helistö, N., Rinne, E., Flynn, D. (2022) Multi-sectoral flexibility measures to facilitate wind and solar power integration. IET Renew. Power Gener. 00, 1– 13 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1049/rpg2.12399
Lahon, R., Stanley, S., O’Dwyer, C., Devine, M., and Flynn, D. (2020) Impact of Wide-Scale Data Centre Growth on Power System Operation with Large Share of Renewables, 2020 17th International Conference on the European Energy Market (EEM), 2020, pp. 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1109/EEM49802.2020.9221876
Mac Domhnaill, C., Ryan, L. (2020) Towards renewable electricity in Europe: Revisiting the determinants of renewable electricity in the European Union, Renewable Energy, Volume 154, 2020, Pages 955-965, ISSN 0960-1481, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2020.03.084.
Meegahapola, L., Mancarella, P., Flynn, D., Moreno, R. (2021) Power system stability in the transition to a low carbon grid: a techno-economic perspective on challenges and opportunities, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment, 2021, Vol. 10(5), e399. https://doi.org/10.1002/wene.399
Meles, T.H., Mukherjee, S.C., Ryan, L., Healy, S., Mooney, R., Sharpe, L., Hayes, P. (2020) Attitudes to Renewable Energy Technologies: Driving Change in Early Adopter Markets, UCD Centre for Economics Working Paper Series WP26/30. http://hdl.handle.net/10197/11646
Meles, T.H., Ryan, L. (2020) Adoption of Renewable Home Heating Systems: An Agent-Based model of Heat Pump Systems in Ireland, UCD Centre for Economics Working Paprer Series WP20/30. http://hdl.handle.net/10197/11780
Meles, T.H., Ryan, L. (2022) Adoption of renewable home heating systems: An agent-based model of heat pumps in Ireland, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 169, 2022, 112853, ISSN 1364-0321, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2022.112853.
Meles, T.H., Ryan, L. & Wheatley, J. (2020) COVID-19 and EU Climate Targets: Can We Now Go Further?. Environ Resource Econ 76, 779–787 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10640-020-00476-3
Meles, T.H., Ryan, L., Mukherjee, S.C. (2022) Heterogeneity in preferences for renewable home heating systems among Irish households, Applied Energy, Volume 307, 2022, 118219, ISSN 0306-2619, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2021.118219.
Meles, T.H., Ryan, L., Wheatley, J. (2020) COVID-19 and EU Climate Targets: Going Further with Less? UCD Centre for Economics Working Paprer Series WP20/12 https://www.ucd.ie/economics/t4media/WP20_12.pdf
Mukherjee, S.C., Ryan, L. (2020) Factors influencing early battery electric vehicle adoption in Ireland, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 118, 2020, 109504, ISSN 1364-0321, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2019.109504.
Nouri, A., Soroudi, A., Keane, A. (2020) Resilient Decentralized Control of Inverter-interfaced Distributed Energy Sources in Low-voltage Distribution Grids, IET Smart Grid, 2020, Vol. 3 Iss. 2, pp. 153-161. https://doi.org/10.1049/iet-stg.2019.0163
Petrov, I., Ryan, L. (2021) The landlord-tenant problem and energy efficiency in the residential rental market, Energy Policy, Volume 157, 2021, 112458, ISSN 0301-4215, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112458
Rabiee, A., Keane, A., and Soroudi, A. (2021) Enhanced Transmission and Distribution Network Coordination to Host More Electric Vehicles and PV, in IEEE Systems Journal. https://doi.org/10.1109/JSYST.2021.3092785
Rabiee, A., Keane, A., and Soroudi, A., Smart Charging of EVs to Harvest Flexibility for PVs. Boook Chapter in Electric Vehicle Integration via Smart Charging: Technology, Standards, Implementation, and Applications by Vahid Vahidinasab (Editor), Behnam Mohammadi-Ivatloo (Editor), Springer, ISBN: 9783031059087.
Ryan, L., Petrov, I., Kelly, A., Guo, Y., La Monaca, S. (2019) An assessment of the social costs and benefits of vehicle tax reform in Ireland,OECD Environment Working Papers, No. 153, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/952e7bff-en.
Stanley, S., Lahon, R., O’Dwyer, C., Ryan, L., Flynn, D. (2021) Is the transition to zero carbon power economically feasible? The case of a 70% variable renewables power system, 26th Annual Conference of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EAERE 2021), 23-25 June 2021, Berlin, Germany
Stanley, S., Lahon, R., O’Dwyer, C., Ryan, L., Flynn, D. (2021) Operational and financial challenges beyond 70% variable renewables, 1st IAEE (International Association of Energy Economists) Online Conference, Paris, France, 7-9 June 2021
Stanley, S., Ryan, L., Flynn, D. (2022) Demand response and curtailment in an isolated system with up to 80% variable renewables, 17th IAEE European Energy Conference, Athens, Greece