Grant details

Documentation describing the project aims and objectives are available in the following documents:


The project is organised around several work packages (WPs). There are two distinct areas of research within the Framework (as represented mainly by WPs 2 and 3 (which relate to the originally proposed infrastructure and networks and people in interaction with technology) with nominally assigned staff, the mix of expertise is such that a great deal of informal interaction is expected and this also reflects the complex interactions, constraints and feedback effects between different system areas, which are hard or impossible to predict.


Essentially a gap filling exercise involving the whole team led by the PI. The work of the CASCADE project would firstly be reviewed in the context of national and international work in the same area and related to policy developments apparent at the start of the project. The package would extend through the project to keep developments under continual review to ensure that the work reflected key changes.


Software development extending and enhancing the CASCADE Framework to handle the expected changes in the electricity market and the underlying mechanisms, both technical and non-technical as outlined above This would involve significant additional modelling of the technical layer of the electricity network from the generators, through the transmission and distribution infrastructure to the load components, thereby facilitating investigations into the operational dynamics of the modern and restructured grid. It will enable us to probe the complexity of interactions between the market and the operational decisions of the system operator along with new philosophies and smarter designs for operating the new age grid. RA1 (Pakka) would work on this package and would be supervised by the PI and this work would start immediately.


Software development, building on the work in CASCADE that models household behaviour with respect to end-use energy demand and its innovative treatment of the likely increasingly symbiotic relationship with rapidly developing smart ICT. It would augment this by inclusion of more detailed models of commercial and industrial end-users, energy supply and energy service companies and their interactions. The approach distinguishes itself from those that ignore the complexity of end user reactions and the indirect effects these may have across levels traditionally treated as distinct, such as the effect of multiple user behaviour on system wide infrastructure development. RA2 (Snape) would work on this package, supervised by Boait.


Conceptual design and software development to introduce a new layer into the Framework that would implement approaches based on strong theoretical principles to link models developed for different spatial, temporal and organisational scales. It would involve the whole team in reviewing, reflecting - and learning from - the process of model construction so that understanding the possible effects of linkage would be improved and various potential distortions minimized, e.g. where parameterisation is involved. This package is of particular importance to enable demonstration of the potential of the Framework as a component of strategic energy modelling. The PI would work closely with Boait, Pakka and Snape on this.


Model deployment to gain insights into questions of interest to industry and policymakers. These would be framed by the named researchers For example: How does the feedback between technological innovation and social acceptance and adoption of such innovation affect pathways to 2050 carbon reduction targets? To what extent does human behaviour (and/or learning) with regard to technology adoption (and/or acceptance) and use limit the pathways to 2050 carbon reduction targets? This would involve investigation of smart energy technology adoption patterns with usage factors including both household and larger consumers, the observed drop-off of engagement with smart technology after a few months of installation and associated maintenance issues, involving modelling at large geographical scale and a coarse time scale with intervals of several months. How would be optimal operational/co-ordination strategies be determined and adopted by the System Operator and by the DNOs (in view of the above issues such as better data from many smart devices, newer market structures such as locational pricing and zoned transmission issues DGs at the level of DNOs and demand side participation in the market) for secure and smart running of the system, for example to self-heal under various technical, economical and policy contingencies. The IESD has its own excellent facilities to support this work, including the necessary computing power for demanding agent-based simulation (grant from the HEFCE Strategic Research Infrastructure Fund): a High Performance Computing facility developed in partnership with Silicon Graphics consisting of a 32 node XE Linux Cluster with 64 quad core Intel Xeon processors providing a total of 256 processor cores. The machine has more than 512 Gb of RAM and 3Tb of disk storage along with an Infiniband high speed interconnect system to overcome bandwidth deficiencies sometimes associated with this kind of architecture. The facility has already been used successfully to support modelling in CASCADE.


Concerned with aspects of the Framework’s usability and transparency, this would involve mainly the PI and named researcher Snape, who would use their HCI skills to develop a simple front end for the Framework that would enable it to be deployed by non-expert users. The project partners would be involved in prototyping this work and projects around it would be offered to computer science students in the Faculty to which the IESD belongs. This package could be considered as a pilot for a larger project extending beyond AMEN as the challenges of providing a sophisticated interface would distract from the main modeling research effort..


A series of workshops, internal and external, supported by printed material and website activity that would be focussed on achieving the goals described in the Pathways to Impact document (attached) and the intended academic impact as described above. The PI would lead this package, assisted by the two named researchers and with help form Co-I Mallaburn, to ensure that the impetus gathering strength towards the end of the CASCADE project was maintained and amplified throughout AMEN and beyond to promote its use by other researchers and practitioners.

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Grant number: EP/K033492/1