Project 4 will produce detailed characterisations of each energy pathway, itemising the individual components of a pathway, their occurrence in time and their anticipated impacts on natural capital and the provision of ESs.
In order to assess each of the future energy pathways selected for investigation in Project 1, their components (e.g. generation technologies) need to be characterised in terms of a consistent set of parameters including life cycle elements, infrastructure requirements (e.g. number and sizes of power plants), feedstock demands (e.g. quantities and potential sources), changes in consumption (e.g. levels of electrification). In addition, the anticipated impacts of each of those components on natural capital and ecosystem services need to be identified and described.
The first step in that characterisation is identifying the individual components of an energy pathway. That task will be achieved through reference to the existing literature and expert input (see Project 1), as well as through application of the TIAM-UCL model. TIAM-UCL is part of the family of TIMES/MARKAL integrated assessment models that enable detailed analysis of the configuration of energy systems including all primary energy sources (oil, gas coal, nuclear, biomass, and renewables) from production through to their conversion, energy infrastructure requirements, and patterns of sectoral energy demand.
The second step in characterising energy pathways will be in identifying the anticipated ES impacts of each particular component of the energy system. This exercise will be informed by the frameworks completed under the UKERC Phase 2 research fund project on energy and ES. Similarly, it will respond to the research gaps on the direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of energy supply and demand technologies identified by UCL ISR in SPLiCE.
In addition to the core research, this Project will be the focus of a PhD studentship on Mixed-method evaluations in the Environment-Energy Nexus at University College London Institute for Sustainable Resources. This will aim to develop a Mixed Integer Linear Model for selected sections of the energy system able to produce a granular time and geographical description.
The outputs from Project 4 will consist of a series of spreadsheets, tables and metadata so that the assumptions underpinning subsequent assessments of impacts are transparent.