Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

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Other energy research themes



Flexibility is vital in electricity systems. It allows to balance the constant changes in supply and demand. Traditionally, fossil fuel based power stations have been very good at providing this flexibility. As these power stations come to the end of their life and increasing shares of generation come new ways to provide flexibility are needed.

Three candidates are: (1) Networks and interconnection; (2) Demand side flexibility and (3) Storage.

These new approaches to flexibility challenge conventional operation of electricity systems in fundamental ways. New technologies, business models, institutions, policies and regulatory structure are needed. Under this theme we consider the wide ranging aspects of flexibility and address interdependences between solutions.

Current Projects

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash


In many parts of Europe, centralised energy systems are in decline while more distributed, diverse, low-carbon and participatory systems are emerging. How are community-based energy projects creating value for their members and society in general? This EU-funded project will work with communities at the forefront of developing new business models, to analyse the contexts from which they emerge and how they engage citizens, create value and share learning. It will also assess their potential to scale up.

Meter website

Measuring and Evaluating Time- and Energy-use Relationships (METER)

The aim of METER is to develop an evidence base for the potential of demand response in households. This study uses smart phone technology to collect electricity consumption from thousands of UK households, alongside activity diaries from household members. It explores the timing of electricity use and tests the responsiveness of demand to a range of incentives.

Oxford Martin Programme for Integrating Renewable Energy

The Oxford Martin Programme on Integrating Renewable Energy aims to deliver a framework for understanding technical, market and policy requirements for integrating renewables across scales, resource types and contexts. The work includes tasks on ‘Governance of and engagement with the demand side’, in which we aim to analyse shifts towards ‘active’ demand and the potential for more flexible demand at different scales. Partners at the Oxford University: Departments of Engineering, Materials, Law and Mathematic, the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, and the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

Storage heater

Realising Value from Electricity Markets with Local Smart Electric Thermal Storage Technology (RealValue)

This project combines trials of electric storage heating and water heating in Ireland, Germany and Latvia with modelling, with the aim of assessing how local small-scale energy storage with advanced ICT could bring benefits to all participants in European energy markets. Project partners: Glen Dimplex (lead), Intel, The Energy Research Centre at University College Dublin, DIW Berlin, Riga Technical University, VTT (Finnish Technical Research Institute, ESB Networks, EirGrid, SSE Airtricity and MVV Energie.

Westmill Community Wind Farm

Community Energy Generation, Aggregation and Demand Shaping (CEGADS)

This project aims to enable communities to work together to pool locally-owned generation and match it with local demand to reduce bills and carbon emissions. Partners: Energy Local Ltd., De Montfort University, Exergy Devices Ltd., Moixa Technology, Westmill Sustainable Energy Trust, Energise Sussex Coast and Cooperative Energy Ltd

Household picture
  • Funding: ESRC
  • 2014-2019
  • People: Sarah Darby, Marina Topouzi

Collecting New Time Use Resources (CNTUR Energy-24)

This is part of a programme based at the Centre for Time Use Research in the Oxford University Department of Sociology, producing time diary resources for use by the social science, public health, environmental and other research communities. The project combines diaries and instrumentation (accelerometers, body cameras, high-resolution energy meters) to contribute to understanding of how energy use relates to daily activities and to develop applications for diary data.

  • Funding: EPSRC
  • 2002-2019
  • Co-I: Dr Nick Eyre; Led by Professor Jim Hall

UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium: Long term dynamics of interdependent infrastructure systems.

The ITRC informs the analysis, planning and design of national infrastructure, through the development and demonstration of new decision support tools, and working with partners in government and industry. LCF input has focused on the NISMOD-LP model of demand and capacity for infrastructure systems, leading the work on modelling energy demand.

Projects Archive

Full list of archived energy projects.