PGR Workshop: Spatially explicit optimisation model for investigating the land use implications of future energy scenarios
To tackle the global climate emergency, the UK has committed to a legally binding net-zero emissions target for 2050. Policy-makers need to understand where new electricity generation may be located to determine the impacts and feasibility of different transitions to net zero. Existing energy systems models however tend to have limited spatial resolution. Without incorporating geospatial issues into energy system modelling, the cost of energy transitions may be misrepresented and the wider impacts on the natural environment, at a local, regional and landscape level, overlooked. A national-scale spatially disaggregated integrated model has been developed to determine the land use change impacts of transitioning to a low carbon energy system. The modelling framework uses various spatial optimization techniques to determine the least cost locations for multiple renewable energy technologies. By incorporating values from the environmental economics literature, the impact of different potential energy mixes on the provision of ecosystem services can be considered and the socially optimal locations for energy infrastructure identified.