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Learn: Sustainable Energy

One of the aims of the new front page website and improvements and additions to the Sustainable Energy section of Learn is to bring our work on understanding and interest in zero carbon, sustainable energy more to the fore of the project.

Over the years we have done a fair bit of work that explores this wider context, documented to a varying degree on the site. The Sustainable Energy section of Learn brings all of this together in one place that’s easier to find and navigate as well as extending it with further improvements to the energy modelling tools, discussion and analysis.

It starts with a brief introduction and energy 101, which outlines the energy consumption of the average UK household and a quick run through the main demand and supply side solutions used by the ZeroCarbonBritain scenario.

There is then a brief write up of an energy study into 17 households in Snowdonia, North Wales that Glyn and I helped run in 2010 that illustrates how different energy consumption can be across a number of household. It uses the energy stack graphics style used by the sadly late David MacKay FRS who wrote Sustainable energy without the hot air, to visualise the different uses of energy from traditional electricity demand to heating and transport.

Page 5: Building on the ZeroCarbonBritain Energy Model goes into more detail on the ZeroCarbonBritain 10 year hourly energy model developed by the Centre for Alternative Technology. Including links to their open spreadsheet model and methodology papers and then work that I did with Philip James a researcher on the ZeroCarbonBritain project on creating an open source web based version of the model.

The latest version of the 10 year hourly energy modelling tool can be found here:

It can be used to explore supply & demand matching for a large number of different supply and demand side technologies. Everything from wind, solar, heatpumps, biomass heat, electric vehicles, hydrogen, battery storage to long term biomass energy backup.

Pages 6,7 & 8 and the appendixes go into further detail looking briefly at costs, renewable heat and community (large village/small town) scale scenarios, discussing the results of running different options through the model.

Interested to hear what people make of it.

Screenshot: Snowdonia household energy study:

Screenshot: 10 year hourly energy model