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Dr Phil Grünewald

I am a lecturer in Engineering at Oriel, and was formerly a Jackson Junior Research Fellow in Energy at the College.

I have taught on MSc and MBA programmes at Warwick, Loughborough, Imperial, Reading and Oxford, covering energy systems, storage, demand, economics and policy. Posts and achievements to date include:

Research Interests

I lead the Flexibility Theme in the Lower Carbon Futures Group (Environmental Change Institute, SoGE).

Flexibility (you would expect me to say this) is vital for the operation of electricity systems. Flexibility is needed for supply to follow the ever changing demand for electricity. Every morning the system operator has to ensure that supply can ramp up fast enough. In the early evening, when our demand tends to reach its peak, sufficient capacity must be on stand-by to ensure the lights stay on.

However, this model is about to be turned upside down. Solar photo-voltaics and wind energy have fallen in cost so dramatically in recent years. They begin to displace conventional power stations and with them the valuable ability to ramp up and down with demand. Renewables not only displace flexible sources, they further add to the variability in the system. New forms of flexibility are therefore urgently needed.

Two promising candidates are storage and demand response. I conducted whole system research on the role for storage. A key finding was that despite its cost, future overall system costs can be greatly reduced, even at modest storage efficiencies. However, the extent and type of storage required is very sensitive to the other option: demand response. If we were the change the timing of our electricity use, billions of pounds could be saved. But is that realistic?

My current study explores what we do with electricity in the first place, and asks how the timing could be changed through appropriate interventions. See

Selected Publications