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Smart energy systems

Research Smart grid systems with The Open University

Spurred by the recent and ongoing growth of renewable generation in the electricity system there is much current interest in ‘smart’ electricity distribution grids. System smartness will allow for time-shifting of electricity demand and in the future will better incorporate electricity and other energy storage systems. In this way a smart and renewables-based electricity system promises to deliver low-carbon electricity. What, however, will these changes imply for electricity system reliability? How will society adjust to, and accept these new realities? How will these innovations roll out around the world and what are the prospects for development and deployment in less developed countries? Such questions are of concern to researchers at The Open University.

In recent years The Open University played a leading role in a major HEFCE funded initiative known as MK:Smart.The OU is particularly interested in synergies between smart energy futures wider aspects of the future city, such as transport and mobility. Milton Keynes is a great place in which to consider such possibilities.

Qualifications available:

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 in a technical discipline, electrical power system engineering preferred

Potential research projects

One proposed project seeks, in particular, to understand short-term grid security issues (initiating issues of duration less than 1 second). This project will involve an understanding of issues from electrical power engineering, such as reactive power and whole system inertia. The project will be largely desk based and in the spirit of technology and policy (i.e. the overlap of science and technology with energy policy) research. 

Current/recent research projects

  • George Matthew, System dynamics of smart grid development and utilization, PhD awarded 2018.

Potential supervisors

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Professor William J. Nuttall
+44 (0)1908 655113

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.