Meeting Peak Heat Demand

Previous OIES research on heat has identified meeting peak heat demand as one of the key challenges for energy decarbonisation. This study will look at some particular aspects of the issue in more detail:

  • First, it will consider possible future developments in the peakiness of heat demand, including such factors as government policy, building and insulation standards, lifestyle changes – and the impact of climate change itself.
  • Second, it will try to decompose the challenge into particular elements – for instance, the winter period as a whole; periods when renewable energy supply is likely to be low (e.g. a ‘blocking high’ in winter, which may last for, say a fortnight or so); third, short-lived peaks in demand due to brief cold snaps.  It may well be that the optimum response is multi-dimensional and that different measures will be needed to deal with  the different challenges.
  • Finally, it will look at possible policy measures to address these challenges, and in particular at how far a ‘whole systems’ approach is likely to be achievable.  Given the increasing interaction between electricity and other sources in the heat market, such a solution may well be desirable.  However, it would require a major shift in policy approaches, which are still based on looking at the individual sources in isolation.

By: Malcolm Keay