Energy demand is the driver of the whole energy system, and research in this sector concerns not only the amount of energy used, but also the type of energy source and the different ways it is utilized. In the context of climate change and the increasing pressures for lowering carbon emissions, the reduction and management of energy demand is of critical importance. Furthermore, reducing carbon emissions in the energy system presents significant challenges to electricity transmission and distribution networks, as infrastructures evolve to accommodate developments in an increasingly differentiated system of supply and demand. Energy systems are faced with important challenges, not only in rapidly lowering carbon emissions but also adapting systems to adapt a changing climate and increasing levels of demand.
Studying energy demand and its infrastructures, therefore, requires an interdisciplinary approach, involving an analysis of:
- the social drivers for energy services, including lifestyles and everyday practices that influence energy demand
- the changing technologies at the point of energy use, from energy efficient services and technologies to smart meters and energy monitoring equipment
- the institutional contexts within which technical decisions and policies are made
Our research in this area relates to how innovations in energy services and provision affect energy demand, thereby understanding the requirements as well as the associated barriers and opportunities to respond to climate change and energy security problems. From this perspective, our approach focuses on new technologies and transitions in energy supply infrastructures, with links to technical design, engineering and economics.
Furthermore, understanding energy supply and demand as a socio-technical system, research in this theme focuses on the influence of social change on energy demand, using contributions from psychology, sociology and social practices approaches.
Tyndall Manchester leads a £1.6m project to examine the resilience of the UK electricity network. It specifically looks at the impacts of climate change on decarbonised grids. more