Impacts of heat decarbonization on system adequacy considering increased meteorological sensitivity

Matthew Deakin, Hannah Bloomfield, David Greenwood, Sarah Sheehy, Sara Walker, Phil C. Taylor

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This paper explores the impacts of decarbonization of heat on demand and subsequently on the generation capacity required to secure against system adequacy standards. Gas demand is explored as a proxy variable for modelling the electrification of heating demand in existing housing stock, with a focus on impacts on timescales of capacity markets (up to four years ahead). The work considers the systemic changes that electrification of heating could introduce, including biases that could be introduced if legacy modelling approaches continue to prevail. Covariates from gas and electrical regression models are combined to form a novel, time-collapsed system model, with demand-weather sensitivities determined using lasso-regularized linear regression. It is shown, using a Great Britain-based case study with one million domestic heat pump installations per year, that the sensitivity of electrical system demand to temperature (and subsequently sensitivities to cold/warm winter seasons) could increase by 50% following four years of heat demand electrification. A central estimate of 1.75 kW additional peak demand per heat pump is estimated, with variability across three published heat demand profiles leading to a range of more than 14 GW in the most extreme cases. It is shown that the legacy approach of scaling historic demand, as compared to the explicit modelling of heat, could lead to over-procurement of 0.79 GW due to bias in estimates of additional capacity to secure. Failure to address this issue could lead to £100m overspend on capacity over ten years.
Original languageEnglish
Article number117261
JournalApplied Energy
Early online date19 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful for the help of Archie Corliss and Katherine Daman of National Grid ESO, for their time discussing, and provision of data on, customer demand management. The work was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, UK through grant no. EP/S00078X/1 (Supergen Energy Networks hub 2018). H. Bloomfield and D. Greenwood are funded by the Supergen Energy Network’s CLEARHEADS flex project, UK . S. Sheehy is funded by an EPSRC studentship.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


  • capacity adequacy
  • heat decarbonisation
  • energy system transitions
  • energy meteorology
  • capacity markets


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