Imperial College London


Faculty of Engineering

Research Fellow, Energy Policy Briefing Papers



+44 (0)20 7594 3643aidan.rhodes




Energy Futures LabElectrical EngineeringSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

19 results found

Carmichael R, Gross R, Hanna R, Rhodes A, Green Tet al., 2021, The Demand Response Technology Cluster: accelerating UK residential consumer engagement with time-of-use tariffs, electric vehicles and smart meters via digital comparison tools, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol: 139, ISSN: 1364-0321

Cost-effectively decarbonising the power sector and household energy use using variable renewable energy will require that electricity consumption becomes much more flexible and responsive to constraints in supply and the distribution network. In recent years residential demand response (DR) has received increasing attention that has sought to answer, based on current evidence, questions about how much consumers will engage with DR. This paper critically reviews the evidence base for residential consumer engagement with DR and draws out several important limitations in it. We argue for a more action- oriented focus on developing practical strategies to enable and unlock greater loadshifting and consumer engagement with DR within a changing technology and regulatory context. A number of recommendations are put forward for accelerating UK consumer engagement with DR, presented under three broad strategies: (a) promote awareness of smart tariffs, smart meters and storage and automation behind-the-meter devices as mutually-supportive components within a common ‘DR technology cluster’; (b) deliver targeted support for adoption of electric vehicles and other storage and automation technologies; (c) enable and support informed adoption of DR-enabling products and services through ‘smarter’ digital comparison tools (DCTs), data portability, and faster, simpler switching. The interdependency between components within this DR technology cluster delivers efficiency but also poses a risk that one delayed component (e.g., smart metering) will hold-up policy and industry support for other components. The urgency of decarbonisation goals makes it necessary to push forward as many of these elements as possible rather than the pace being set by the slowest.

Journal article

Carmichael RICHARD, Halttunen KRISTA, Palazzo Corner SOFIA, Rhodes AIDANet al., 2021, Paying for UK Net Zero: principles for a cost-effective and fair transition


Carmichael R, Rhodes A, Hanna R, Gross Ret al., 2020, Smart and flexible electric heat: an energy futures lab briefing paper, Smart and Flexible Electric Heat: An Energy Futures Lab Briefing Paper

Heating in residential, commercial and industrial settings makes up almost half of final energy consumption in the UK, more than the energy consumed for electricity or transport. The electrification of heat is anticipated to play a major role for the UK’s efforts to reduce emissions to net-zero by 2050. Heating demand is highly variable between seasons and time of day. To take maximum advantage of low-carbon generation, and to respect the limitations of the distribution grid, electricity loads for heating will need to be flexible. This Briefing Paper explores the potential for smart flexible low-carbon electric heating in UK homes and the challenges for consumer engagement. This paper considers four key elements for enabling smart, flexible and cost- effective electric heating in UK homes: low-carbon heating systems; cost-reflective electricity pricing; thermally efficient buildings; and smart storage devices.


Rhodes A, 2020, Digitalisation of Energy: An Energy Futures Lab Briefing Paper, Digitalisation of Energy: An Energy Futures Lab Briefing Paper, London, Publisher: Energy Futures Lab

Digital technology has the potential toradically reshape the way we generate,trade and consume energy. Over the pastdecade, the incorporation of informationand communications technology intothe energy system has emerged as asignificant driver of change in the sectorbut the pace and scale of that change islikely to increase dramatically over thedecades to come.This Briefing Paper investigates the keytechnologies that underpin the digitisation ofenergy and examines their potential impacts. Theoverarching objective of the paper is to understandthe effects new technologies will have on thecurrent energy system, the new challenges theywill pose, and the policies and regulatory measureswhich will assist in making them a success.Specifically, this paper considers four technologicalareas of digitalisation: big data; machine learningand AI; the Internet of things; and distributedledger technology, often referred to as blockchain.


Skea J, van Diemen R, Hannon M, Gazis E, Rhodes Aet al., 2019, Energy Innovation for the Twenty-First Century: Accelerating the Energy Revolution, Publisher: Edward Elgar, ISBN: 978 1 78811 261 1

This book addresses the question: how effective are countries in promoting the innovation needed to facilitate an energy transition? At the heart of the book is a set of empirical case studies covering supply and demand side technologies at different levels of maturity in a variety of countries. The case studies are set within an analytical framework encompassing the functions of technological innovation systems and innovation metrics. The book concludes with lessons and recommendations for effective policy intervention.


Sandys L, Hardy J, Rhodes A, Green Ret al., 2018, Redesigning Regulation: Powering from the future, Redesigning Regulation: Powering from the future, London, UK

The electricity sector is already going through unprecedented change, and new solutions to new challenges are ready to shape a transformed sector with new opportunities and new risks. The question is whether incremental change provided through issue specific changes, derogations or technology specific responses will unlock the new consumer and system advantages. Or should we recognise that the innovation in all parts of the system is totally transformative and changes the fundamentals of what the market is and what we need to regulate?Regulators and policy makers are currently sitting in the middle addressing the legacy concerns while looking hesitantly at the future. They have a choice – whether to try to squeeze the transformed system into the architecture of the past or to embark on a ‘managed’ revolution to embrace the new structure of the future of electricity.This report proposes regulatory actions needed to meet the challenges and opportunities of a transformed energy system – reimagining the market design, refocusing regulation, opening up consumer choice, and unlocking the power of supply-chain pressures while shaping a new ‘retailer’ market. In addition, it proposes much greater use of energy-system data, and a recalibration of security of supply to drive greater efficiencies and unlock demand reduction.


Hanna RF, Gazis E, Edge J, Rhodes A, Gross Ret al., 2018, Unlocking the potential of Energy Systems Integration: An Energy Futures Lab Briefing Paper, Publisher: Energy Futures Lab

Energy Systems Integration’s (ESI) underlying concept is the coordination, and integration, of energy generation and use at local, regional and national levels. This relates to all aspects of energy from production and conversion to delivery and end use. Building such a system is potentially a cost-effective way to decarbonise our energy sector and produce a more reliable and resilient system. This Briefing Paper investigates how the UK can link heat, transport, electricity and other energy vectors into one interconnected ecosystem. It lays out the immense opportunities of having an interconnected and integrated energy ecosystem and the technologies that could make it a reality. Among these is enabling variable renewable electricity and lower-carbon fuels to provide energy services traditionally provided by higher-carbon sources. This could be realised through a more resilient system incorporating greater flexibility and more diverse energy sources.


Carmichael R, Gross R, Rhodes A, 2018, Unlocking the potential of residential electricity consumer engagement with Demand Response

Working paper

Rhodes A, Gazis E, Gross RJK, 2017, Is the UK facing an electricity security crisis? An Energy Futures Lab briefing paper., Publisher: Imperial College Energy Futures Lab

Britain’s media outlets have carried manystories about an ‘energy gap’, claimed to havearisen because the UK has failed to buildenough power stations to meet demand. Talkof upcoming ‘blackouts’, with the UK unable toproduce enough electricity to keep the lights on,is commonplace, with several hundred articlespublished in mainstream UK newspapers onthis topic over the last decade. These claimshave always been contested by the governmentand electricity system operator, National Grid,but the debate continues. This Briefing Paper,produced by Energy Futures Lab, reviews theevidence to determine whether the UK will facean electricity security crisis in the coming years.


Rhodes A, van Diemen R, 2016, Has the Low Carbon Network Fund been successful at stimulating innovation in the electricity networks?, British Instutite of Energy Economics 2016: Innovation and Disruption: The Energy Sector in Transition

The physical basis of today’s electricity networks are based on engineering design principles whichhave not changed substantially since World War 2. This has led to a stable, secure but intrinsicallyconservative electricity network system, characterised by small, incremental changes andtechnological advances. However, two major drivers are currently pushing a period of substantialinnovation and change in the networks. The first of these is the need to incorporate increasingquantities of variable renewable generation at distribution level, as well as to prepare for increasinglevels of electrification in heating and transport. The second comprises the new opportunities arisingfrom the incorporation of ICT technology into the networks, including smart metering, smartappliances, demand-side participation and the development of new business models and serviceswhich facilitate active consumer engagement.These drivers challenge the notion of an electricity grid being a simple unidirectional series of wiresand transformers and make the case for a ‘smart grid’, in which information and communicationtechnologies (ICT) are integrated directly into the electricity networks. These advances have thepotential to transform the way customers and supply companies interact with electricity, and providesignificant new commercial opportunities for communications, monitoring, control and dataaggregation technologies throughout the electricity system from generation through to the consumer.New network and smart grid technologies are a major focus in the UK’s low carbon innovationstrategy, with substantial public funding (£81 million p.a) provided through the Ofgem-administeredLow Carbon Network Fund (LCNF) and its successor the Network Innovation Competition (NIC).These are novel programmes, both in the UK and elsewhere due to their structure, which involvesconsortia led by network operating companies bidding for public funds. The LCNF has recentlycompleted i

Conference paper

Rhodes A, 2016, What lessons for innovation can be learnt from the Low Carbon Networks Fund?, EI Energy Systems Conference 2016

Conference paper

MacLean K, Gross R, Hannon M, Rhodes AR, Parrish Bet al., 2015, Energy system crossroads - time for decisions:UK 2030 low carbon scenarios and pathways - key decision points for a decarbonised energy system, ICEPT/WP/2015/019


Hannon M, Skea J, Rhodes A, 2014, Innovation in the energy sector: advancing or frustrating climate policy goals?, 10th British Institute of Energy Economics Academic Conference

The energy sector is well known for the relatively modest level of resource that it devotes to research and development (R&D). However, the incremental pace of energy innovation has speeded up in the last decade as measured by public sector R&D budgets, deployment of alternative technologies and novel institutional arrangements. While much of this effort has been targeted at technologies that promise to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, there have also been major innovations that extend the fossil fuel resource base and reduce the cost of extraction. The last decade’s developments can be seen in terms of a challenge to the existing energy paradigm in parallel with a renewed innovative response focusing on conventional fuels and technologies. This paper examines this tension, by exploring the expectations of a variety of organisations in both the public and private sector regarding energy sector developments and by analysing private sector expenditure on energy research and development (R&D) and public sector budgets for energy R&D and demonstration (RD&D). Scenarios and outlook exercises that have been published since 2013 reveal a wide range of beliefs about the future development of the energy system. The contrasting views underpinning the different scenarios are reflected in divergent patterns of R&D investment between the private and public sectors. There appears to be a tension between the drive to transform energy systems, on the part of public bodies, mainly motivated by the need to combat global climate change, and private sector activity, which tends to reinforce and extend existing patterns of energy provision. The paper addresses, but not answer definitively, the key question as to whether technological change is enabling or frustrating ambitious carbon goals.

Conference paper

Rhodes A, Skea J, Hannon M, 2014, The global surge in energy innovation, Energies, Vol: 7, Pages: 5601-5623, ISSN: 1996-1073

Policymakers are seeking a transformation of the energy system driven by concerns about climate change, energy security and affordability. At the same time, emerging developments in underpinning science and engineering are opening up new possibilities across the whole technology spectrum covering renewables and other supply side technologies, energy demand and energy infrastructure. This paper reviews both the “policy pull” for energy innovation activities and the “science and technology push”. It explores the expectations of a variety of organisations in both the public and private sector regarding these pressures and possibilities by assessing various scenarios and outlook exercises that have been published since 2013. It reveals a wide range of beliefs about the future development of the energy system. The paper then moves on to analyse private sector expenditure on energy research and development (R&D) and public sector budgets for energy R&D and demonstration (RD&D). This analysis demonstrates significant divergences in patterns of innovation between the private and public sectors and leads to the hypothesis that the private sector is, broadly, taking measures to reinforce the existing energy paradigm while the public sector is focusing on new energy technologies that support wider policy objectives. This pattern is consistent with past technological transitions, with innovation efforts that would transform the energy system being counteracted by countervailing efforts that reinforce the existing fossil fuel-based paradigm.

Journal article

Rhodes A, 2011, Low Carbon Heat: Commercial Opportunities and Challenges for the UK, Publisher: Energy Generation and Supply KTN


Rhodes A, Teh NJ, 2011, UK Smart Grid Capabilities Development Programme, Publisher: Energy Generation and Supply KTN

This report aims to inform the UK smart grid stakeholders and to disseminate the findings from the UKSmart Grid Capabilities Development Programme, delivered by the EG&S KTN on behalf of the SmartEnergy Special Interest Group (SESIG) funded by the Technology Strategy Board. The study wasundertaken from January to March 2011, underpinned by two surveys of UK smart grid stakeholders anda workshop held in London on the 13th April 2011.


Rhodes A, 2010, Smart grids: Commercial Opportunities and Challenges for the UK, Smart grids: Commercial Opportunities and Challenges for the UK, Publisher: Energy Generation and Supply KTN


Barker CA, Massey A, Rhodes A, Bryce MR, Kataky Ret al., 2010, Characterization of the porous nature of a phthalocyanine derivative with axial ligation designed to prevent aggregation, JOURNAL OF PORPHYRINS AND PHTHALOCYANINES, Vol: 14, Pages: 389-396, ISSN: 1088-4246

Journal article

Kruusma J, Rhodes A, Bhatia R, Williams JAG, Benham AM, Kataky Ret al., 2007, The Effect of a Hydrogen Bonding Environment (Dimethyl Sulfoxide) on the Ionisation and Redox Properties of the Thiol Group in Cysteine and a Protein Disulfide Isomerase Mimic (Vectrase), Journal of Solution Chemistry, Vol: 36, Pages: 517-529, ISSN: 0095-9782

Journal article

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