criteria, as set out in decision letter.
The project aims to show how maximum benefit can be realised from the low carbon
energy sector by integration across a number of traditionally separate sectors, linking
renewable electricity generation with transport, heating and agricultural sectors.
Using the distribution network to overcome barriers to low carbon generation
The Carbon Plan identifies 'facilitating access to the electricity grid' as an area requiring
targeted action in order that renewable electricity can provide over 30% of electricity
generation in 2020. Whilst speed of access to the transmission system is increasing,
connection at distribution level remains an unexploited opportunity.
Offering developers of large scale renewable generation choice in the way they connect
to the electricity network - either 'traditionally' to the transmission system, or, novelly,
via the distribution system - could increase the speed at which renewables connect and
begin contributing to meeting energy demand.
Reducing the costs of connections and use of system charges
Choice of connection has the potential to reduce development costs for generation
customers, giving, in the longer term, downward pressure on energy costs for
consumers. Furthermore, the more efficient use of existing infrastrucure offered by
connection at distribution level could reduce the cost to UK plc of developing and
maintaining the country's electrical infrastructure.
PATHS will demonstrate how connecting large scale generation sources to the
distribution network can reduce costs of connection whilst still allowing the majority of
the output to be exported. Minimising network reinforcement in this way will ultimately
reduce use of system costs for all customers.
The Carbon Plan identifies the decarbonisation of heating (and cooling) supply as a key
part of its strategy aimed at reducing the carbon emissions of buildings to 'almost zero'
by 2050. It notes that the deployment of low carbon technologies which will help
achieve this aim will take many decades. As gas is currently the main source of heat in
most buildings, and will continue to be so for many years, reducing the carbon content
of gas during that period of transition could have a significant effect on total carbon
emitted up to 2050. During the transition, the injection of sustainably generated
hydrogen into mains gas networks, for use in homes and businesses, could make a
substantial contribution to the carbon content of mains gas.
The project will aim to help farmers use the energy produced from on-site wind turbines
within their own business; uses include drying grain and powering hydrogen-fuelled
vehicles. Direct use of energy in this way can substantially reduce the farm's energy
costs as well as their carbon footprint.