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Energy Storage

Picture of Joel Guilbaud

Joel Guilbaud is a Ph.D. student at the UCL Energy Institute. His main research interest is energy storage and energy economics. 

He undertook a three-month secondment in the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), during which he produced a technical note on the cost of energy storage for the Department.

Why were you interested in the UCL Public Policy secondment scheme?

From a policy perspective, I was interested to understand the research process undertaken by the government to make energy decisions. From a technical perspective, I wanted to learn more about energy storage technologies, and especially get the opinion of the government on these technologies.

Where did you undertake your policy secondment?

I was part of the Strategy Directorate in the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

What did you learn from your secondment?

I learnt that government is undertaking research based on both previous academic studies and policy constrains. Together, these two perspectives enable them to provide information to the ministers that are academically accurate and contextually relevant.

What did you find most valuable?

I have learnt extensively about energy storage solutions, including both research methods and technical characteristics. The direction and technical expertise of my supervisor were really valuable for both the secondment work and my own Ph.D. research.

What surprised you most?

It was remarkable to see that some civil servants read the same academic papers that I do in my Ph.D. studies. In addition, I was surprised to see that civil servants do not make any decisions. Their role is only to provide information to the ministers. To some extent, I found that civil servants are doing similar research work to academics – with probably a bigger impact.

What do you think the benefits were to your host organisation?

I was able to conduct meticulous research on the cost of energy storage technologies, which was both time-consuming and technically challenging. This work was used by my team to model the economics of these technologies.

How has the secondment changed the way you work?

The cost approach developed by my supervisor was unique in the academic literature. Since then, I have used the same approach for my Ph.D. in order to increase the accuracy of my research model.

What would you say to other UCL researchers considering a policy secondment?

I would recommend to pick a secondment that is related to your research so you can provide a contribution to your team in a relatively limited time-frame. Also, you will be able to get data and technical information that you can use – if they are not confidential – for your own research.

More details 

Specific activities that Joel undertook during the secondment include:

  • Literature review on energy storage cost
  • Collaboration on the development of a new cost approach of energy storage technologies
  • Preparation of a technical note on energy storage cost and the relevant research method
  • Participation to team meetings and relevant training sessions

Page last modified on 28 oct 13 15:36