Realising Transition Pathways

Wedge D

Strategic appraisal and decision making

Wedge D will initiate a major strand in proactive risk management and strategic thinking by the Consortium.

It will appraise the energy and environmental performance of the technological mix on a whole system basis: from cradle-to-grave, and will analyse how assessment of future costs, benefits, risks and returns informs decision making by actors within the energy system.

WP D1: Horizon scanning of low carbon power systems

Technological choices in the UK power sector are likely to vary significantly out to 2050. In 2011 alone, the outlook for both coal-fired power stations with CCS and nuclear power has changed dramatically.

Likewise, the prospects for new nuclear have been hit by both Fukushima and a reassessment of the economics of nuclear power by some of the 'big players', such as EDF.

In WP D1 Horizon scanning will involve a protfolio of methods that enable energy researchers and other stakeholders to increase their awareness of important emerging influences on the UK energy system and its environment.

Work will be led by the University of Bath, with support from Strathclyde University.

WP D2: Whole systems energy and environmental appraisal of low carbon technologies and pathways

The 'trilemma' for transition pathways is how to address the three elements of carbon, cost and security.

WP D2 will evaluate the environmental impacts, including carbon emissions associated with a range of energy technologies that could be adopted  in the power sector out to 2050.

It will highlight the significance of 'upstream emissions' and their technology and policy implications.

Work will be carried out by the University of Bath.

WP D3: Economic analysis and appraisal

WP D3 will undertake rigorous cost benefit, risk and investment appraisal of potential transition pathways, with an emphasis on uncertainty analysis of transitions.

This will inform how costs, risks and returns are a crucial input into actors' decision making processes in any pathways, particularly in relation to large capital expenditures.

The potential costs and benefits of these, and how investments position market players in relation to key economic risks, are critical to any transition.

Work will be carried out by UCL.