Analysing socioeconomic diversity and scaling effects on residential electricity load profiles in the context of low carbon technology uptake

R. McKenna*, L. Hofmann, E. Merkel, W. Fichtner, N. Strachan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Adequately accounting for interactions between Low Carbon Technologies (LCTs) at the building level and the overarching energy system means capturing the granularity associated with decentralised heat and power supply in residential buildings. The approach presented here adds novelty in terms of a realistic socioeconomic differentiation by employing dwelling/household archetypes (DHAs) and neighbourhood clusters at the Output Area (OA) level. These archetypes are combined with a mixed integer linear program (MILP) to generate optimum (minimum cost) technology configurations and operation schedules. Even in the baseline case, without any LCT penetration, a substantial deviation from the standard load profile (SLP) is encountered, suggesting that for some neighbourhoods this profile is not appropriate. With the application of LCTs, including heat pumps, micro-CHP and photovoltaic (PV), this effect is much stronger, including more negative residual load, more variability, and higher ramps with increased LCT penetration, and crucially different between neighbourhood clusters. The main policy implication of the study is the importance of understanding electrical load profiles at the neighbourhood level, because of the consequences they have for investment in the overarching energy system, including transmission and distribution infrastructure, and centralised generation plant. Further work should focus on attaining a superior socioeconomic differentiation between households.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-26
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy Policy
Early online date15 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

This research was primarily supported under the Fellowship programme of the EPSRC funded Whole Systems Energy Modelling Consortium (WholeSEM) – Grant Reference: EP/K039326/1. The authors also wish to acknowledge the financial support of the BMBF for the project “Wettbewerb Energieeffiziente Stadt” (03SF0415B) and the EU for the project CIVIS ( The first author would also like to thank the members of the Energy Systems Modelling research theme at the UCL Energy Institute for numerous valuable discussions in the context of the above Fellowship. The authors are also grateful for the helpful comments of two anonymous reviewers on an earlier version of this manuscript.


  • Buildings
  • Distribution network
  • Households
  • Load profiles
  • Low carbon technologies
  • Socioeconomic factors


Dive into the research topics of 'Analysing socioeconomic diversity and scaling effects on residential electricity load profiles in the context of low carbon technology uptake'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this