This WP will extend the pathway characterisations developed in Project 4 by advancing a framework to integrate energy consumption analysis (including associated technologies) with natural capital considerations, and exemplify this framework with a specific case study to determine the minimum impact pathway. The research will draw on and be complementary to existing research and concepts from the engineering, environmental and biological science, geographical and economic communities.


Results from the pathway characterisations in WP4 will be used to investigate the implications of changes in energy efficiency and consumption patterns. These changes are likely to include: 1) electrification of transport, 2) changes of off gas grid heating from LPG and oil to decarbonised electricity heat pumps and biomass, 3) changing building standards, increasing insulation and emerging new technologies, 4) increased use of large ground and water source heat pumps, 5) increased district heating systems, 6) increased Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems, 7) small scale distributed heat and power generation, 8) smart grids and smart adaptive control systems, 9) changing patterns of consumption associated with ICT, 10) changing equipment and plant to Low C and 11) changing farm energy use and production.

The impact of land use change, environmental disturbance on water catchments, habitats, public amenity and the economy will be evaluated for each consumption aspect and spatially attributed in the UK with regard to current energy demand patterns identified in UKERC Phase 2 research. Finally a value will be assigned based upon the natural capital metrics defined in Project 1. The work will build up previous projects on each aspect of consumption pattern change (e.g. UK Transport Carbon Model from UKERC, ETI Economics of Plug-in vehicles, UKERC Phase 2: Energy Use in buildings, industry, transport, and electrification of heat, etc.)

The final phase of Project 7 will be to apply the findings to a case study quantifying the impact on natural capital of the implementation of low carbon energy pathways to NE Scotland (Grampian and Tayside). This will study the urban environment of Aberdeen and Dundee as well as the varied rural area which encompasses some of the best agricultural land in the UK as well as extensive forestry, upland pasture, peatlands and mountainous terrain. The urban component will draw on the experience in Aberdeen of the installation of external insulation on social housing (including high rise flats) and the district heating. The transport component will draw on recent UKERC and ETI studies on the electrification of transport and the study and implementation of the Aberdeen-Peterhead hydrogen corridor. Issues related to the impacts of transport electrification will be further examined through an associated PhD studentship. The impact of power generation will look at the Peterhead CCS project, the current onshore and proposed offshore wind farms and the plethora of small wind and solar generation in the rural areas. For rural areas the change of heating from LPG and oil to biomass and heat pumps and the land use change and disturbance associated with this will be evaluated. Finally the impact of rural hi-speed internet on natural capital will be evaluated drawing on the experience of the University of Aberdeen Dot-Rural project.


The outputs from the WP will inform the economic assessments in Projects 11, 12 & 13.