skip to content

Energy Systems Week: Management of Variability and Uncertainty in Energy Systems

22nd April 2013 to 26th April 2013

Organisers: Stan Zachary (Heriot-Watt), David Lenaghan (National Grid plc), Robert Leese (Industrial Mathematics KTN), Andrew Richards (National Grid plc), Sergey Foss (Heriot-Watt), James Cruise (Heriot-Watt), Chris Dent (Durham)

Workshop Theme

This meeting is a one-week research and scoping workshop to discuss applications of mathematics to the management of complex energy systems. It will be held at the Isaac Newton Institute in Cambridge from 22 to 26 April this year. It is intended as a follow-up to the Spring 2010 Programme in Stochastic Processes in Communication Sciences, and the one-week Energy Systems workshop which formed part of that programme, and subsequent one-day events on the theme of mathematics in the management of energy (Energy Systems Day and Maths Underpinning Energy Workshop).

The aims of the meeting are:

  1. To address and make progress with some of the difficult problems now arising in large electrical energy networks (e.g. that supplying Great Britain) and concerned with the management of variability and uncertainty in these systems. These problems are primarily:
    1. the characterisation and prediction of complex patterns of variability in both supply and demand, notalby those in supply arising from an increased reliance on renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar power;
    2. the management of the system in response to uncertainty, via scheduling, the use of storage, and time-shifting of demand;
    3. the design of market mechanisms so as to ensure economically efficient operation of the overall system, particularly in the balancing of supply and demand.

    The solution of these problems requires the expert application of systems mathematics, i.e. probability and stochastic modelling, statistics and optimization, together with strong computational expertise in these areas.

  2. To set up sustainable and lasting industrial-academic partnerships in these areas, and also to obtain a greater mutual understanding between industry and academia of how they may better combine their respective approaches to work for the common good.

It is intended that the meeting should focus on identifying where and how mathematics can contribute to the pressing system management problems now facing the energy industry. To that end there will be a relatively small number of talks, which are by invitation, together with substantial time for brainstorming and discussion.

Thus on the Monday and on the Tuesday morning there will be presentations from industry experts (not all of whom will be from industry itself), and we shall also take some time on the Friday to consider what we have learned during the week. The time in between(other than the Wednesday afternoon - see below) will have an appropriate balance of talks and brainstorming sessions.

On the Wednesday afternoon we shall have an an "Open for Business meeting", in which a number of senior people from industry and government will give high-level views of problems likely to present significant future challenges. One such is that of electricity market reform – a subject which raises longer term issues of design of efficient market mechanisms so as to provide optimal value to consumers.

Supported by

National Grid logo


University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons