Energy Exemplar forecasts UK future energy needs

  • August 24, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Australian firm Energy Exemplar is providing National Grid ESO with virtual scenarios of the UK future energy needs to help the transition to a decarbonised economy.

Its Plexos software and cloud platform will allow National Grid to play what-if scenarios around energy sources, such as hydrogen and solar.

Plexos modelling will provide the electricity systems operator (ESO) with an enhanced capability to plan future energy scenarios and required upgrades to the national electricity transmission network. This will support the transition to a decarbonised energy system, including the cost-efficient integration of new technologies in large-scale renewables, green hydrogen and other areas.

National Grid ESO balances supply and demand to ensure homes and businesses in Great Britain have the electricity they need round the clock. As the grid manages supply and demand complexities, such as integrating a wider mix of greener energy through, for example, the greater use of hydrogen and offshore wind farms, the need grows for more technologies.

National Grid and Energy Exemplar have announced a multimillion-pound three-year agreement to use the Plexos unified energy market simulation platform to support this transition.

Plexos, through mathematical simulations, will help National Grid identify the most cost-efficient ways to expand the electricity grid, reach more consumers, help manage the integration of renewable energies and enable the transition to a carbon-neutral UK energy system.

Modelling with Plexos software will enable National Grid to future-proof the grid, while retiring older parts of the energy network. These are essential steps to ensure consumers have no disruptions to supply, while the UK transitions to a low carbon economy.

“The next few years will be crucial to laying the foundation for this transition and the ability to integrate new technologies at scale,” said Michael Schneider, senior vice president at Energy Exemplar. “Our Plexos software will provide a key capability to support the continued and proud tradition of UK energy innovation which started in 1881, when Britain provided the world’s first public power supply in Godalming, Surrey, with energy generated from a water wheel.”

Plexos modelling will help inform future versions of the Future Energy Scenarios report, which set out potential pathways to net-zero by or before 2050. Plexos scenarios will also help shape the Network Operations Assessment report, a document published by National Grid each year with recommendations for where the transmission system needs investment and strengthening, particularly important when it considers a more diverse energy mix and reaching more remote areas of the country.

“Plexos will further strengthen the analysis the ESO undertakes to identify the optimal pathways to net-zero and will support the ESO in assessing the optimal pathways for future network infrastructure decisions,” said Iain Shepherd, enhanced network capability development manager at National Grid. “This will ensure that we can continue to deliver a secure and reliable network that delivers value for consumers as we move towards net-zero.”

Energy Exemplar’s tool was selected for its versatility and ability to plan across both power and gas systems rather than, as has historically been the case, treating them as separate networks. This provides further benefits to consumers as it allows planners to view the system as a whole and predict energy needs more accurately. Insights gathered from modelling should help National Grid anticipate and respond to market changes efficiently, optimising decision-making and helping save on overall costs.

The contract contains a three-year fixed period with two one-year optional extensions.

Headquartered in Adelaide, Australia – with offices in the USA, Europe, North and South America, and Asia – Energy Exemplar helps more than 450 customers, comprising a large share of the world’s top energy market stakeholders across over 68 countries, to analyse scenarios for accurate outcomes while supporting organisational and digital transformation.