Adaptation and Resilience In Energy Systems (ARIES)

Lead Research Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Department Name: Sch of the Built Environment


The energy supply sector is undergoing massive technological changes to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the climate is progressively changing creating new challenges for energy generation, networks and demand. The Adaptation and Resilience in Energy Systems (ARIES) project aims to understand how climate change will affect the UK gas and electricity systems and in particular its 'resilience'. A resilient energy system is one that can ensure secure balance between energy supply and demand despite internal and external developments such as climate change. The physical changes in climate up to 2050 coincide with the energy sector moving towards a low-carbon future, with massive renewables targets, new smart grid infrastructure and more active demand management. As such, it is of importance to identify whether new technology and policy strategies for reducing emissions also imply changes in energy system resilience. A particular concern is that increasingly large renewable energy targets aimed at decarbonisation may create new vulnerabilities given the weather-dependency of renewable energy sources. With affordable, secure energy critical to the UK economy it is imperative to fully understand the risk posed by changing climate for the energy supply sector and its infrastructure. ARIES will develop new methods to model the impacts of climate changes on current and new energy generation technologies and understand its effect on gas and electricity demand. It will identify the impacts that these new supply and demand patterns have on energy system resilience and will suggest changes or adaptation that can 'build-in' resilience.
Description This project was a collaboration with the University of Edinburgh. Their work focused on the larger scale renewable energy systems and concluded that in most cases the need for adaptation to a changing climate is low but there appears to be evidence for positive adaptation measures to maximise yields from small-scale hydropower. There are clearly climate impacts on both supply and demand, but the supply-side changes are less significant than due to technological and behavioural change arising from efforts to decarbonise housing.

Techniques to model the effect of climate change on the energy demand in housing and the built environment have been developed from those in previous work and led to methods of assessing the impact of behavioural change and new technologies - building types, insulation, forms of heating, etc. These modelling techniques can be applied to individual dwellings as well as to groups of dwellings, up to the level of a settlement, and could be used by regulatory authorities, policymakers and professionals to study a range of future scenarios. That they have not been taken up so far is more likely due to the short-term vision of the stakeholders but this may well change as policymakers respond to public opinion.
Exploitation Route Text
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Energy

Description Centre for Energy Systems Integration
Amount £5,359,128 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P001173/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 09/2021
Description Community-scale energy demand reduction in India
Amount £593,352 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/I03534X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2017 
End 10/2021