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Energy systems technology benchmarking study


This report assesses energy system technology activity in Scotland and compares the capabilities of Scottish companies with the rest of the UK and other relevant developed and developing countries. Specifically, the report: provides an overall description of energy system technologies and what they are understood to be in the context of energy networks; reviews the current technological and market position of nine selected energy system technologies, and their expected growth out to 2025; identifies areas where Scotland and/or Scottish companies have a competitive advantage that could be promoted and developed; identifies areas where there are gaps or relative weaknesses in Scottish capability that could be developed; and provides recommendations to Scottish Enterprise on appropriate support mechanisms and targeted interventions. The case studies included: electric vehicle (EV) charging, dispatch control and grid services; home energy control systems; electricity support from battery storage; active network management (ANM); distributed network intelligence; HVDC (high-voltage direct current); MVDC (medium voltage direct current) for distribution network reinforcement; demand forecasting and power system modelling; ancillary services (grid support) by wind; and big data analytics (discussed within relevant case studies, not separately).


The research comprised technology and market assessments of relevant energy system technology case studies, and a RAG (red, amber, green) analysis, which was performed on each case study as part of the benchmarking exercise.


The study found that Scotland was considered a world leader in the ANM sector, with strong capabilities in technological maturity, existing market and user engagement. Scotland also compared strongly against the rest of the UK and internationally in: electric vehicle charging, dispatch control and grid services; home energy control systems; demand forecasting and power system modelling; ancillary services (grid support) by wind; and HVDC. However, Scottish capabilities could be improved in electricity support from battery storage and MVDC. Other findings include that: demonstrating that EVs are a reliable enough source of providing grid services to ensure widespread roll-out is a significant challenge facing the industry; although smart home energy controls are already technically well established, uptake remains very low; recent deployments in larger scale battery schemes have proven successful; high-level forecasting and modelling techniques are well established and used extensively to date, but higher resolution, big data approaches are currently at earlier stages of deployment.


Recommendations were made to inform future decision making on energy system technologies. In terms of existing capabilities, the report recommends the provision of support for: innovation and development of domestic scale technologies; Scottish businesses moving into commercial ANM product development; HVDC R&D and test and demonstration areas; and businesses pursuing broader commercial opportunities in the area of electricity demand forecast modelling. In terms of intervention, a number of areas where Scottish capability could be improved were identified and suggestions for possible interventions to assist development were provided. These include: public-funded trials to create an evidence base on the benefits of domestic scale technologies; the development of a national roadmap of domestic scale technologies; the dissemination of learning from existing Scottish trials on the tangible benefits of battery storage; the provision of funding for R&D to improve storage technologies and associated control systems; support for companies with existing links to the energy sector but limited resource and/or expertise specific to storage; and support for ongoing academic research and innovation projects in relation to wind generation, with both National Grid and other European entities, through seed funding or research grants.

Author TNEI Services Ltd
Published Year 2017
Report Type Research
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors
    Digital markets and enabling technologies