Page 1: Introduction to Survey of UK Energy Models

Introduction to Survey of UK Energy Models

Why is it important to have a database of all UK energy models?

Energy models provide the underpinning evidence to support decision makers across policy, industry and civil society to understand strategies and trade-offs in the energy transition.

However, energy modellers – in academia, government and consulting – have often struggled to make their models open and accessible to key stakeholders. But transparency is key to ensure the implications and limitations of model insights are fully understood.

This comprehensive review will identify strengths and research gaps, help understand the process of model development and maintenance, help ensure model outputs can be validated, and facilitate deeper collaboration between modellers and decision makers.


Who is running this survey?

The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) is the flagship consortium of UKRI’s interdisciplinary energy research programme. The Energy Modelling Hub is one of UKERC’s four national capabilities with the explicit aim to boost knowledge and collaboration between all UK energy researchers and key energy stakeholders. The data from this survey will be carefully curated in conjunction with UKERC’s Energy Data Centre. The Modelling Hub is advised by a Steering Group of key stakeholders; UKERC, UKRI, BEIS, Scottish Government, Northern Ireland Government, Committee on Climate Change, Energy Systems Catapult, and the National Infrastructure Commission.

Who should fill out this survey?

We are intentionally casting a wide net to cover all UK energy models. We consider a “UK energy model” as having six key elements:

  1. It has an underlying methodology captured via equations
  2. It is processed via a programming language or via a software environment
  3. It produces results that can then be communicated
  4. It has energy as a key part of its inputs or outputs
  5. It has the UK (or sub-regions of the UK) as part of its geographical coverage
  6. It is designed to be used more than once

Energy models can be from any underlying discipline (natural sciences, engineering, economics, social sciences, political sciences etc.) or can be interdisciplinary.

And we are very keen to capture energy models not only in academia but also in consulting firms, government, public and regulatory bodies, and companies – this recognises the diversity of who builds, maintains, and applies energy models                               

What will be done with the results of the survey?

The major findings will be initially communicated by putting interactive diagrams/tables on the UKERC website. Publically available reports will contain insights that would fall under UKERC’s first level of transparency (“open description”) with any other model information strictly anonymised. Furthermore, contributing modelling teams and our Steering Group will receive additional in-depth analysis of the range of UK energy models.

What are the longer term plans for UKERC’s Energy Modelling Hub?

The overall state of UK energy modelling capability will be discussed with our Steering Group of key stakeholders. This will inform future funding calls and commissioned energy modelling projects. A mid-term aim is that all policy orientated energy modelling would become more transparent, progressing (see UKERC’s definition at to level 1 – open description, and onto level 2 – open access). Modellers will have the opportunity to resubmit their survey entries as efforts are made to both increase the transparency of their models, and to make additional improvements.