Whole energy system modelling is a valuable tool to support the development of policy to decarbonise energy systems, and has been used extensively in the UK for this purpose. However, quantitative insights produced by such models methods necessarily omit potentially important features of physical and engineering reality. The authors argue that important socio-technical insights can be gained by studying critical events such as the loss of 2.1 GW generation from the electricity system of Great Britain in August, 2019. The present paper uses this event as a starting point for a discussion of the need for additional tools, drawn from the System Architecture literature, to support the design and realisation of future fully decarbonised systems with high penetrations of renewable energy, capable of providing high levels of resilience and flexibility.
Keywords Energy system modelling, resilience, flexibility, governance, storage, energy system architecture