In March 2020, the spread of COVID-19 sent Britain into lockdown. Businesses, industry and schools were closed and millions of people were confined to their homes. The sudden and unprecedented shift in work and travel patterns had significant impacts on our energy system, presenting unique challenges to the operators of our electricity grid. 

In this Energy Futures Lab Briefing Paper, we investigate how electricity demand changed at both household and national levels during lockdown and detail the measures that were taken to keep the lights on across Britain. With new research from the IDLES Programme at Imperial College London, the paper draws lessons about managing a low-carbon electricity grid and offers recommendations on how behavioural changes, such as long-term remote working, could be helpful in reaching our carbon emissions targets.

Authors: Amy Trask, Dr Kathryn Wills, Prof. Tim Green, Dr Iain Staffell, Orson Auvermann, Quentin Coutellier, Dr Mirabelle Muûls, Dr Jeffrey Hardy, David Morales Rodriguez, Dr Ralf Martin, Dr Aruna Sivakumar, Dr Jacek Pawlak, Dr Ahmadreza Faghih Imani, Dr Luis Badesa, Prof. Goran Strbac.

Click here to download the paper.

Watch our mini-documentary on Britain's energy under lockdown: