The Oxford Martin Programme on
Integrating Renewable Energy
Mitigating climate change is a major challenge for the 21st Century and requires a transition to low carbon energy systems.
Energy supply is responsible for 65% of greenhouse gas emissions, so transition to a low carbon energy system is critical to mitigating climate change. Intermittent renewable energy sources will play a key role and integrating them effectively into electricity systems is therefore a critical challenge.
Retaining a secure electricity system, rather than resource availability or generation cost, is increasingly seen to be the major, long-term constraint to the adoption of high shares of intermittent renewables. Supply and demand need to be balanced and there are potential imbalances on time scales from seconds to seasons, as well as other technical issues for system and grid operation.
Technical approaches to accommodating intermittency in power systems are excess generation capacity, demand flexibility, energy storage and grid inter-connection. However, the best way to deploy these in combination is not agreed. Moreover, electricity markets currently provide insufficient incentives for capacity, flexibility and innovation; and the scale at which action is required ranges from the individual household to international agreements. A fundamental re-think of regulatory, market and institutional arrangements is required. Any changes will need to ensure continuing high levels of electricity system security on which modern societies depend.
This programme aims to deliver a framework for understanding technical, market and policy requirements for integrating renewables across a wide range of scales, resource types and contexts.
We will develop the conceptual tools needed to understand the role and combination of different approaches in different scenarios, how these might be adopted in electricity markets and how such innovation might be stimulated and governed. We will investigate how this is beginning to play out and what further change is needed at a number of scales, ranging from new mini-grids to continental systems.
The programme brings together an interdisciplinary team of eight experts on energy issues, from five Oxford University departments. It has practical support from key industrial and government organisations and with that support aims to deliver early results relevant to technical, commercial and policy problems.
Our ambition with this four year programme is to provide frameworks for both governments and industries to integrate renewable energy sources into the mainstream, in order to help them achieve targets on carbon emissions.
Long Read - June 2019
The Integrating Renewable Energy team includes economists, social scientists, materials scientists and engineers. Find out how their research is making an impact on the ground, helping to create new systems approaches that can deliver cleaner and cheaper energy.Read
Jackson Senior Research Fellow and Professor of Energy and Climate Policy
Associate Professor in Engineering Science
Associate Professor and Acting Leader, Energy Programme
Deputy Director of Energy Research
Professor of Environmental Economics
Senior Research Fellow
Professor Cameron Hepburn on Stranded Assets Risks
"The cost of energy review" with Prof Dieter Helm
"Disruptive oil and electricity futures" with Amory Lovins
"Can future energy needs be met sustainably?" with Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith
"Our shared world: reconciling individual need and collective responsibility" - Panel Discussion
"A world powered by renewable energy" with Prof Nick Eyre & Prof Malcolm McCulloch
Cost Reflective Pricing in Energy Networks
Solar photovoltaic self-consumption in the UK residential sector: New estimates from a smart grid demonstration project
Policy Brief—Encouraging Innovation that Protects Environmental Systems: Five Policy Proposals
Bribes, bureaucracies, and blackouts: Towards understanding how corruption at the firm level impacts electricity reliability
The value of investing in natural gas-renewable electricity hybrid systems