Low Carbon Futures: confronting electricity challenges on island systems

Matthew, George; Nuttall, William; Mestel, Benjamin and Dooley, Laurence (2019). Low Carbon Futures: confronting electricity challenges on island systems. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 147 pp. 36–50.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2019.06.014


This paper considers the range of possible long-term futures for an electrically isolated island power system. Emphasis is given to generation investment decisions supportive of low-carbon renewable generation. Ranges of policy interventions are considered for the electrically isolated case study island of São Miguel in the Azores islands in the North Atlantic Ocean. The whole systems methodological approach of System Dynamics is used to bring together key sub-systems relating to, for example, generation adequacy, renewable generation investments and demand-side aspects. In this way, a comprehensive understanding is established with high levels of endogeneity. The model is used to investigate a range of policy scenarios associated with renewable energy growth, electric-vehicle uptake and electricity storage. It is found that policy is most effective when all aspects are addressed simultaneously and in a co-ordinated manner and that policy favouring renewable generation alone is not sufficient to achieve the highest possible penetration of renewables. Finally, the robustness of the observations is addressed via Monte-Carlo based sensitivity testing.

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