Cost-efficient decarbonization of local energy systems by whole-system based design optimization

Rui Jing, Weiqi Hua, Jian Lin, Jianyi Lin, Yingru Zhao, Yue Zhou*, Jianzhong Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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On the way toward Net Zero 2050, the UK government set the 2035 target by slashing 78 % emissions compared to the 1990-level. To help understand how an electrified local energy system could contribute to this target and the associated cost, we develop a whole-system based local energy optimization (LEO) model. The model captures a series of state-of-the-art technologies including building fabric retrofit, battery storage, electro-mobility, electro-heating, demand response, distributed renewable, and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) energy trading. And the model enables trade-off assessment between cost and emissions minimization, compares two system operating modes, i.e., cost-oriented and grid-impact-oriented, and evaluates the impacts from weather risks and capital cost assumptions. A case study in Wales reveals (1) capital cost assumptions can lead up to 30.8 % overall cost difference of the local energy system; (2) operating the system in cost-oriented mode can save up to 5 % cost than in the grid-impact-oriented mode; (3) electro-heating by heat pumps has the highest priority among all investigated technologies. Overall, this study demonstrates how to design and operate a cost-efficient and electrified UK local energy system by the whole-system incorporation of near-term technical and business model advances towards a decarbonized future.
Original languageEnglish
Article number119921
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Energy
Early online date20 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

We acknowledge Dr. Meng Wang from Tongji University for building energy simulation and Ms. Jiahui Liu from Chinese Academy of Science for weather data processing. We also acknowledge the financial support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded the EPSRC-NSFC funded ‘MC2’ project [52061635103 and EP/T021969/1], the EPSRC funded Supergen Energy Networks hub 2018 [EP/S00078X/1], and the Active Building Centre Research Programme (ABC RP) [EP/V012053/1]. Rui Jing was supported the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 20720220081).


  • Decarbonization
  • Electric vehicle
  • Heating electrification
  • Building fabric retrofit
  • P2P energy trading
  • Weather risk


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