Energy systems modelling and low-carbon development pathways

Oil refinery

Meeting ambitious mitigation targets will require systemic change, which must begin early if we are to reduce climate risks. 

Decarbonisation could be undertaken independently in each sector of the economy, but mitigation targets can be most cost and resource-effectively met by a combination of reduction in the demand for energy alongside efficient and intelligent use of available resources.  For example, as transport and heat-related energy end-uses transform radically to decarbonise in coming decades, there will be significant opportunities to modernise our approach to energy provision by increasing integration and coordination between supply and demand for power, heat and transport.  

To understand opportunities like this, a systems view of supply, infrastructure, conversion and end-use demand for energy, and the associated policy framework at a national or regional level, will be critical.

There is no single optimal low carbon pathway and appropriate approaches differ from country to country depending on natural resources, and the policy, environmental and development context. 

The evolution of energy systems will also have major implications for longer term infrastructures, such as electricity grids and gas, heat, and CO2 transport networks. To understand the complex interplay of these different factors adequately, new spatially and temporally explicit modelling approaches will be needed.

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