Imperial College London

Phil Heptonstall

Faculty of Natural SciencesCentre for Environmental Policy

Research Fellow
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 7594 7309philip.heptonstall

 
 
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Location

 

401Weeks BuildingSouth Kensington Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
to

41 results found

Gambhir A, Green R, Grubb M, Heptonstall P, Wilson C, Gross Ret al., 2021, How are future energy technology costs estimated? can we do better?, International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, Vol: 15, Pages: 1-48, ISSN: 1932-1465

Making informed estimates of future energy technology costs is central to understanding the cost of the low-carbon transition. A number of methods have been used to make such estimates: extrapolating empirically derived learning rates; use of expert elicitations; and engineering assessments which analyse future developments for technology components’ cost and performance parameters. In addition, there is a rich literature on different energy technology innovation systems analysis frameworks, which identify and analyse the many processes that drive technologies’ development, including those that make them increasingly cost-competitive and commercially ready. However, there is a surprising lack of linkage between the fields of technology cost projections and technology innovation systems analysis. There is a clear opportunity to better relate these two fields, such that the detailed processes included in technology innovation systems frameworks can be fully considered when estimating future energy technology costs.Here we demonstrate how this can be done. We identify that learning curve, expert elicitation and engineering assessment methods already either implicitly or explicitly incorporate some elements of technology innovation systems frameworks, most commonly those relating to R&D and deployment-related drivers. Yet they could more explicitly encompass a broader range of innovation processes. For example, future cost developments could be considered in light of the extent to which there is a well-functioning energy technological innovation system (TIS), including support for the direction of technology research, industry experimentation and development, market formation including by demand-pull policies and technology legitimation. We suggest that failure to fully encompass such processes may have contributed to overestimates of nuclear cost reductions and under-estimates of offshore wind cost reductions in the last decade.

Journal article

Heptonstall P, Gross R, 2020, A systematic review of the costs and impacts of integrating variable renewables into power grids, Nature Energy, Vol: 6, Pages: 72-83, ISSN: 2058-7546

The impact of variable renewable energy (VRE) sources on an electricity system depends on technological characteristics, demand, regulatory practices, and renewable resources. The costs of integrating wind or solar power into electricity networks have been debated for decades yet remain controversial and often misunderstood. Here, we undertake a systematic review of the international evidence on the cost and impact of integrating wind and solar to provide policymakers with evidence to inform strategic choices about which technologies to support. We find a wide range of costs across the literature, which depend largely on the price and availability of flexible system operation. Costs are small at low penetrations of VRE and can even be negative. Data are scarce at high penetrations, but show that the range widens. Nonetheless, VRE sources can be a key part of a least-cost route to decarbonisation.

Journal article

Parrish B, Heptonstall P, Gross R, Sovacool BKet al., 2020, A systematic review of motivations, enablers and barriers for consumer engagement with residential demand response, Energy Policy, Vol: 138, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 0301-4215

Demand response is increasingly attracting policy attention. It involves changing electricity demand at different times based on grid conditions, which could help to integrate variable renewable generation and new electric loads associated with decarbonisation. Residential consumers could offer a substantial new source of demand-side flexibility. However, while there is considerable evidence that at least some residential users engage with at least some forms of demand response, there is also considerable variation in user engagement. Better understanding this variation could help to predict demand response potential, and to engage and protect consumers participating in demand response. Based on a systematic review of international demand response trials, programmes and surveys, we identify motivations for participation, and barriers and enablers to engagement including familiarity and trust, perceived risk and control, complexity and effort, and consumer characteristics and routines. We then discuss how these factors relate to the features of different demand response products and services. While the complexity of the evidence makes it difficult to draw unequivocal conclusions, the findings of this review could contribute to guide early efforts to deploy residential demand response more widely.

Journal article

Gardiner D, Schmidt O, Heptonstall P, Gross R, Staffell Iet al., 2020, Quantifying the impact of policy on the investment case for residential electricity storage in the UK, Journal of Energy Storage, Vol: 27, ISSN: 2352-152X

Electrical energy storage has a critical role in future energy systems, but deployment is constrained by high costs and barriers to ‘stacking’ multiple revenue streams. We analyse the effects of different policy measures and revenue stacking on the economics of residential electricity storage in the UK. We identify six policy interventions through industry interviews and quantify their impact using a techno-economic model of a 4kWh battery paired with a 4kW solar system. Without policy intervention, residential batteries are not currently financially viable in the UK. Policies that enable access to multiple revenue streams, rather than just maximising PV self-consumption, improve this proposition. Demand Load-Shifting and Peak Shaving respectively increase the net present value per unit of investment cost (NPV/Capex) by 30% and 9% respectively. Given projected reductions in storage costs, stacking these services brings forward the break even date for residential batteries by 9 years to 2024, and increases the effectiveness of policies that reduce upfront costs, suggesting that current policy is correctly focused on enabling revenue stacking. However, additional support is needed to accelerate deployment in the near term. Combining revenue stacking with a subsidy of £250 per kWh or zero-interest loans could make residential storage profitable by 2020.

Journal article

Parrish B, Gross R, Heptonstall P, 2019, On demand: Can demand response live up to expectations in managing electricity systems?, Energy Research and Social Science, Vol: 51, Pages: 107-118, ISSN: 2214-6296

Residential demand response (meaning changes to electricity use at specific times) has been proposed as an important part of the low carbon energy system transition. Modelling studies suggest benefits may include deferral of distribution network reinforcement, reduced curtailment of wind generation, and avoided investment in reserve generation. To accurately assess the contribution of demand response such studies must be supported by realistic assumptions on consumer participation. A systematic review of international evidence on trials, surveys and programmes of residential demand response suggests that it is important that these assumptions about demand response are not overly optimistic. Customer participation in trials and existing programmes is often 10% or less of the target population, while responses of consumers in existing schemes have varied considerably for a complex set of reasons. Relatively little evidence was identified for engagement with more dynamic forms of demand response, making its wider applicability uncertain. The evidence suggests that the high levels of demand response modelled in some future energy system scenarios may be more than a little optimistic. There is good evidence on the potential of some of the least ‘smart’ options, such as static peak pricing and load control, which are well established and proven. More research and greater empirical evidence is needed to establish the potential role of more innovative and dynamic forms of demand response.

Journal article

Daggash H, Fajardy M, Heptonstall P, Mac Dowell N, Gross Ret al., 2019, Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, and direct air carbon capture and storage: Examining the evidence on deployment potential and costs in the UK, London, Publisher: UKERC

Report

Gross R, Hanna RF, Gambhir A, Heptonstall P, Speirs Jet al., 2018, How long does innovation and commercialisation in the energy sectors take? Historical case studies of the timescale from invention to widespread commercialisation in energy supply and end use technology, Energy Policy, Vol: 123, Pages: 685-699, ISSN: 0301-4215

Recent climate change initiatives, such as ‘Mission Innovation’ launched alongside the Paris Agreement in 2015, urge redoubled research into innovative low carbon technologies. However, climate change is an urgent problem – emissions reductions must take place rapidly throughout the coming decades. This raises an important question: how long might it take for individual technologies to emerge from research, find market opportunities and make a tangible impact on emissions reductions? Here, we consider historical evidence for the time a range of energy supply and energy end-use technologies have taken to emerge from invention, diffuse into the market and reach widespread deployment. We find considerable variation, from 20 to almost 70 years. Our findings suggest that the time needed for new technologies to achieve widespread deployment should not be overlooked, and that innovation policy should focus on accelerating the deployment of existing technologies as well as research into new ones.

Journal article

Heptonstall P, Gross R, 2018, What’s in a bill? How UK household electricity prices compare to other countries, London, Publisher: UK Energy Research Centre

Report

Holland R, Beaumont N, Hooper T, Austen M, Gross R, Heptonstall PJ, Ketsopoulou I, Winskel M, Watson J, Taylor Get al., 2018, Incorporating ecosystem services into the design of future energy systems., Applied Energy, Vol: 222, Pages: 812-822, ISSN: 0306-2619

There is increasing recognition that a whole systems approach is required to inform decisions on future energy options. Based on a qualitative and quantitative analysis of forty influential energy and ecosystem services scenario exercises, we consider how the benefits to society that are derived from the natural environment are integrated within current energy scenarios. The analysis demonstrates a set of common underlying themes across scenario exercises. These include the relative contribution of fossil sources of energy, rates of decarbonisation, the level of international cooperation and globalisation, rate of technological development and deployment, and societies focus on environmental sustainability. Across energy scenario exercises, ecosystem services consideration is primarily limited to climate regulation, food, water resources, and air quality. In contrast, ecosystem services scenarios consider energy systems in a highly aggregated narrative form, with impacts of energy options mediated primarily through climate and land use change. Emerging data and tools offer opportunities for closer integration of energy and ecosystem services scenarios. This can be achieved by incorporating into scenarios exercises both monetary and non-monetary values of ecosystem services, and increasing the spatial representation of both energy systems and ecosystem services. The importance of ecosystem services for human well-being is increasingly recognised in policy at local, national and international scales. Tighter integration of energy and ecosystem service scenarios exercises will allow policy makers to identify pathways consistent with international obligations relating to both anthropogenic climate change and the loss and degradation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Journal article

Hooper T, Austen M, Beaumont N, Heptonstall PJ, Holland R, Ketsopoulou I, Taylor G, Watson J, Winskel Met al., 2018, Do energy scenarios pay sufficient attention to the environment? Lessons from the UK to support improved policy outcomes, Energy Policy, Vol: 115, Pages: 397-408, ISSN: 0301-4215

Scenario development is widely used to support the formation of energy policy, but many energy scenarios consider environmental interactions only in terms of climate change. We suggest that efforts to develop more holistic energy pathways, going beyond post hoc analysis of environmental and social implications, can usefully draw on environmental scenarios. A detailed content analysis of UK energy and environmental scenarios was therefore undertaken, with energy scenarios selected on the basis that they were recent, had a direct link to energy policy, and covered a range of scenario types. The energy scenarios rarely considered societal drivers beyond decarbonisation and focused on quantifiable parameters such as GDP, while the environmental scenarios provided a richer narrative on human behaviour and social change. As socio-economic issues remain fundamental to the success of energy policies, this is a key area which should be better addressed within energy scenarios. The environmental impacts of energy scenarios were rarely considered, but could have a significant bearing on the likelihood of pathway outcomes being realised. Fuller evaluation of the environmental interactions of energy systems is therefore required. Although the analysis focuses on the UK, some international scenarios show similar limitations, suggesting that the conclusions are more widely applicable.

Journal article

Chase A, Gross R, Heptonstall PJ, Jansen M, Kenefick M, Parrish B, Robson Pet al., 2017, Realising the Potential of Demand Side Response - A report commissioned by BEIS, Publisher: Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Report

Heptonstall PJ, Gross R, Steiner F, 2017, The costs and impacts of intermittency - 2016 update, Publisher: UK Energy Research Centre

Report

Parrish B, Heptonstall PJ, Gross R, 2016, The potential for UK residential demand side participation, Publisher: HubNet

Report

Hanna R, Gross R, Speirs J, Heptonstall PJ, Gambhir Aet al., 2015, Innovation timelines from invention to maturity: A rapid review of the evidence on the time taken for new technologies to reach widespread commercialisation

Report

Parrish B, Heptonstall PJ, Gross R, 2015, HubNet Position Paper No. 11 - How much can we really expect from smart consumers?

Report

Gross R, Speirs JF, hawkes, Skillings S, heptonstallet al., 2014, Could retaining old coal lead to a policy own goal? Modelling the potential or coal fired power stations to undermine carbon targets in 2030

Report

Boot-Handford ME, Abanades JC, Anthony EJ, Blunt MJ, Brandani S, Mac Dowell N, Fernandez JR, Ferrari M-C, Gross R, Hallett JP, Haszeldine RS, Heptonstall P, Lyngfelt A, Makuch Z, Mangano E, Porter RTJ, Pourkashanian M, Rochelle GT, Shah N, Yao JG, Fennell PSet al., 2014, Carbon capture and storage update, Energy and Environmental Science, Vol: 7, Pages: 130-189, ISSN: 1754-5692

In recent years, Carbon Capture and Storage (Sequestration) (CCS) has been proposed as a potential method to allow the continued use of fossil-fuelled power stations whilst preventing emissions of CO2 from reaching the atmosphere. Gas, coal (and biomass)-fired power stations can respond to changes in demand more readily than many other sources of electricity production, hence the importance of retaining them as an option in the energy mix. Here, we review the leading CO2 capture technologies, available in the short and long term, and their technological maturity, before discussing CO2 transport and storage. Current pilot plants and demonstrations are highlighted, as is the importance of optimising the CCS system as a whole. Other topics briefly discussed include the viability of both the capture of CO2 from the air and CO2 reutilisation as climate change mitigation strategies. Finally, we discuss the economic and legal aspects of CCS.

Journal article

Gross R, Heptonstall P, Greenacre P, Candelise C, Jones F, Castillo Castillo Aet al., 2013, Presenting the Future: An assessment of future costs estimation methodologies in the electricity generation sector, London, Publisher: UK Energy Research Centre, UKERC/RR/TPA/2013/001

Report

Harris G, Heptonstall P, Gross R, Handley Det al., 2013, Cost estimates for nuclear power in the UK, Energy Policy, Vol: 62, Pages: 431-442

Journal article

Gross R, Heptonstall P, Speirs J, Mawhood RKet al., 2013, Review of the Fourth Carbon Budget - Call for Evidence: Response from the Centre for Energy Policy and Technology, Imperial College London (ICEPT), London, Publisher: Committee on Climate Change

Other

Chalmers H, Gibbins J, Gross R, Haszeldine S, Heptonstall P, Kern F, Markusson N, Pearson P, Watson J, Winskel Met al., 2013, Analysing Uncertainties for CCS: From Historical Analogues to Future Deployment Pathways in the UK, Energy Procedia, Vol: 37, Pages: 7668-7679

Journal article

Markusson N, Kern F, Watson J, Arapostathis S, Chalmers H, Ghaleigh N, Heptonstall P, Pearson P, Rossati D, Russell Set al., 2012, A socio-technical framework for assessing the viability of carbon capture and storage technology, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Vol: 79, Pages: 903-918

Journal article

Watson J, Kern F, Gross M, Gross R, Heptonstall P, Jones F, Haszeldine S, Ascui F, Chalmers H, Ghaleigh N, Gibbons J, Markusson N, Marsden W, Rossati D, Russell S, Winskel M, Pearson P, Arapostathis Set al., 2012, Carbon Capture and Storage: Realising the potential?, London, Publisher: UK Energy Research Centre

Report

Heptonstall P, Gross R, Greenacre P, Cockerill Tet al., 2012, The cost of offshore wind: Understanding the past and projecting the future, Energy Policy, Vol: 41, Pages: 815-821

Journal article

Gross R, Heptonstall P, Leach M, Skea J, Anderson D, Green Tet al., 2012, The uk energy research centre review of the costs and impacts of intermittency, Renewable Electricity and the Grid: The Challenge of Variability, Pages: 73-94, ISBN: 9781849772334

Book chapter

Gross R, Heptonstall P, 2011, Liberalised Energy Markets: an obstacle to Renewables?, UK Energy Policy and the End of Market Fundamentalism, Editors: Rutledge, Wright, Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA, ISBN: 9780199593002

Book chapter

Greenacre P, Gross R, Heptonstall P, 2010, Great Expectations: The cost of offshore wind in UK waters - understanding the past and projecting the future, London, Publisher: UK Energy Research Centre

Report

Gross R, Blyth W, Heptonstall P, 2010, Risks, revenues and investment in electricity generation: Why policy needs to look beyond costs, Energy Economics, Vol: 32, Pages: 796-804

Journal article

Steggals W, Gross R, Heptonstall P, 2010, Winds of change: How high wind penetrations will affect investment incentives in the GB electricity sector, Energy Policy, Vol: 39, Pages: 1389-1396

Journal article

Heptonstall P, Gross R, 2009, Direction of travel, Public Service Review: Transport, Pages: 14-15, ISSN: 1757-0255

Journal article

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