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Energy Futures Lab Briefing Paper Launch

Impacts of COVID-19 on the energy system

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 our latest Energy Futures Lab Briefing Paper, we investigate how electricity demand changed at both household and national levels during lockdown and detail the extraordinary 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.

This launch event will include a presentation on the key findings and recommendations of the Briefing Paper followed by a panel discussion with the report’s co-authors and experts from the energy sector, including:

  • Julian Leslie, Head of Networks and Chief Engineer at National Grid ESO
  • Dr Tina Fawcett, Acting Leader, Energy Programme and Senior Researcher at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford
  • David Sykes, Data Analyst at Octopus Energy

It will be chaired by Professor Tim Green, Co-Director, Energy Futures Lab and Principal Investigator on the IDLES programme.

Watch our mini-doc on Britain’s energy under lockdown:

About Energy Futures Lab

Energy Futures Lab is one of seven Global Institutes at Imperial College London. The institute was established to address global energy challenges by identifying and leading new opportunities to serve industry, government and society at large through high quality research, evidence and advocacy for positive change. The institute aims to promote energy innovation and advance systemic solutions for a sustainable energy future by bringing together the science, engineering and policy expertise at Imperial and fostering collaboration with a wide variety of external partners.

The Integrated Development of Low-carbon Energy Systems (IDLES) programme comprises six interconnected projects and brings together expertise from seven departments at Imperial to tackle the diverse challenges associated with transitioning to an integrated, low-carbon energy system. At the core of our approach is the development of high temporal and spatial resolution models for a future multi-vector and cross-sectorial energy system.