Electricity - TIAM-UCL

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Model Documentation - TIAM-UCL

Corresponding documentation
Previous versions
Model information
Model link https://www.ucl.ac.uk/energy-models/models/tiam-ucl
Institution University College London (UCL), UK, https://www.ucl.ac.uk.
Solution concept Partial equilibrium (price elastic demand)
Solution method Linear optimisation
Anticipation Perfect Foresight

(Stochastic and myopic runs are also possible)


The electricity and heat generation sector represents many different technology types, using a wide range of fossil-based and renewables resources. The existing system is represented in generic terms whilst the options for future investments are characterised in more detail. Annual electricity and heat supply is temporally disaggregated across six periods (or time slices), based on three season and two diurnal periods (Day / night) to represent changes in load based on sector demand profiles.

Electricity generation plant are additionally categorised as providing electricity to the centralised or decentralised grid (CEN or DCN). Decentralised producers tend to be small scale, connected to the distribution network or serving local grids, and produce one commodity in the model while centralised producers, connected to transmission network, produce a seperate commodity.

The electricity sector Base-Year template is used to calibrate the base-year electricity and heat generation. In the Base-Year template (providing information on existing plant), characterisation of plants is fairly generic, with all production of electricity categorised as ELC-CEN. Off-grid production (via micro-generation technologies) is not explicitly captured in the model, with small-scale generation represented in the decentralised producer group.


Figure: Existing Electricity Generation Capacity by Region in 2005 (Model base year), GW


Figure: Existing Electricity Generation Capacity by Type in 2005 (Model base year), GW

New technologies

Key technology options

New electricity generation technologies are listed in Table.

Table: New technology options for electricity

Technology Group Model Technology Description
Coal Atmospheric Fl Bed.
Air Blown IGCC.
Oxygen Blown IGCC.
Pressurized Fl Bed.
Pulverized Coal.
Gas Gas Steam.
Fuel Cells.
Dual gas / oil Gas_Oil Comb Cycle.
Advanced Gas_Oil Turbine.
Oil Oil Steam.
Generic Dist Gen for Base Load.
Generic Dist Gen for Peak Load.
Nuclear Advanced Nuclear.
Fusion Nuclear.
Advanced Nuclear LWR.
Advanced Nuclear PBMR.
Hydro* Generic Impoundment Hydro.
Generic Impoundment Hydro.
Generic Impoundment Hydro.
Generic Impoundment Hydro.
Generic Impoundment Hydro.
Generic ROR Hydro.
Biomass Crop Direct Combustion.
Crop Gasification.
Biogas from Waste.
MSW Direct Combustion.
Sld Biomass Direct Combustion.
Sld Biomass Gasification.
Sld Biomass Direct Combustion.Decentralized
Sld Biomass Gasification.Decentralized
Geothermal Shallow.
Very deep.
Solar PV* CEN.PV.T0
Solar thermal CEN.Thermal.
Wind* CEN.
  • Different tranches of renewable technologies represent differences in the cost of resources (hydro) or quality of the resource (wind, solar).

An important element is the transformation element which allows for regional differences to be introduced without having to duplicate technologies. For the electricity sector, the following parameters are controlled, and varied by region:

  • Costs parameters (INVCOST, FIXOM and VAROM). Operation and maintenance costs tend to be lower in developing regions, as do investment cost where those regions have a technology manufacturing base e.g. China.
  • Technology discount rate set to 10%, except for solar technologies, where the rate is higher for some regions. Higher rates are typically used for developing regions.
  • Seasonal AFs are set by region for solar technologies, accounting for different insolation values.
  • Construction time is provided for hydro and nuclear technologies - 10 years for nuclear and hydro (dam) and 5 years for hydro (run-of-river). No differentiation is made between regions.

Further work is required to include new CHP technologies, which are not available for public system or industry investment.

An overview of the key parameters for the different technology groups is shown in below.

Table: Overview of technology characteristics by technology group (for WEU region)

Technology Group Efficiency % (range) Investment cost $/kW (range) Comment
2005 2050 2005 2050
Coal 40-49 40-49 1430-1870 1265-1662
Gas / Dual 37-57 37-57 360-1000 300-1000 Lower cost and higher efficiency values represent combined cycle technology
Oil 31-35 31-35 660-1045 660-1045
1760-1870 1760-1870 Fusion costs set at 3300 $/kW
1650-6050 1540-5400 Five dam-based technologies reflecting different cost of resource
Biomass 33-34 33-34 1870-2200 1870-2200 MSW plant significantly higher at 3850 $/kW
1925-2780 1650-2310 Three geothermal technologies reflecting different cost of resource
Solar PV
7150-11000 1485-3025 Low cost is centralised plant and high cost decentralised plant. Technology resource tranched on basis of AFs
Solar thermal
13321 13321 Single technology with no evolution on costs
1065-1650 880-1310 One backstop, one offshore (CEN) and 2 onshore (one is CEN and one is DCN) technologies. Offshore tech. represents the high costs.

Power plants with CCS technologies

For low carbon analyses, sequestration technologies in the electricity generation sector are very important. The first five technologies listed have vintages for 2010, 2020 and 2030.

Table: Overview of Power plant with CCS technology characteristics

Model Technology Description Investment cost ($/kW) Efficiency (%)
NGCC+Oxyfueling 950-1250 48-55
NGCC+CO2 removal from flue gas 800-1000 49-57
IGCC+CO2 removal from input gas 1800-2300 40-48
Conventional Pulverized Coal+Oxyfueling 1900-2400 37-44
Conventional Pulverized Coal+CO2 removal from flue gas 1850-2250 38-44
SOFC (COAL) +CO2 removal - 2030 2200 48
SOFC (GAS) +CO2 removal - 2020 1600 58
Crop Direct Combustion. With CCS 2125 33
Crop Gasification.with CCS 2500 34
Sld Biomass Direct Combustion.with CCS 1700 33
Sld Biomass Gasification.with CCS 2420 34

The fossil-based plants produce SNKELCCO2, a 'dummy' commodity which then goes to the different storage technologies. Biomass plants with sequestration produce SNKTOTCO2, differentiated as technologies that capture CO2 from the atmosphere (negative emissions). The range of storage technologies in the model are listed below.

Types of storage technologies

Removal by Enhanced Coalbed Meth recov <1000 m

Removal by Enhanced Coalbed Meth recov >1000 m

Removal by Depl gas fields (offshore)

Removal by Depl gas fields (onshore)

Removal by Storage in the deep ocean

Removal by Depl oil fields (offshore)

Removal by Depl oil fields (onshore)

Removal by Deep saline aquifers

Removal by Enhanced Oil Recovery

Mineralization for CO2 storage