UCL Energy and Development Group



Jim Watson appointed to World Bank Advisory Role

Jim Watson
Energy and Development Group member Jim Watson will chair ESMAP’s Technical Advisory Group for two years initially. The group provides feedback and advice on technical or implementation issues to the Consultative Group which comprises ESMAP donors. A key role is to advise ESMAP on how to maximise the effectiveness and value-for-money of its activities.

ESMAP is a partnership between the World Bank and 19 organisations, including the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to help low and middle-income countries reduce poverty and boost growth through sustainable energy solutions.  More details here.


The role of project and resource classification schemes in scaling up renewable energy


Jeremy Webb, as Chair of the Renewable Energy Working Group under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, and Long Seng To as a member of the Solar Energy Subgroup, are working with others on the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC). Together, Jeremy, Long Seng and others are preparing a working paper titled “Applications of the UNFC to Renewable Energy” which will be available in April 2021 – so watch this space. In the meantime, Jeremy has prepared an amusing video that shows how project and resource classification schemes can help overcome barriers to scaling up renewable energy.

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGeyv4BusSg&feature=youtu.be




Developing urban building models for Indian Cities



Students in front of building with clipboards
A team from the iNumber project (Ivan Korolija, Joanna Kuleszo and Pamela Fennell) visited our project partners at CEPT University, Ahmedabad in December to deliver an intensive short course as part of their winter school programme.  The course, entitled “An introduction to Building Simulation at the Urban Scale” was developed from a training programme originally delivered to CEPT faculty in London in May 2019.  25 mostly post-graduate students participated in the Ahmedabad course, coming from a diverse range of backgrounds in project management, civil engineering, urban planning and building simulation.  The level of enthusiasm and commitment shown by the students was very impressive and the insights they developed in response to the final analysis task were testament to this.  Overall 46% of students rated the course excellent (100% rated it excellent, very good or good). 


Exciting New PhD Opportunity


An exciting new PhD opportunity has arisen with EDG member Dr Priti Parikh in the Engineering for International Development Research Centre.  The PhD studentship is jointly funded by BBOXX and UCL Engineering and is for a full-time doctorate over three and a half years.

The lack of access to modern energy services continues to be the reality for over a billion people worldwide. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 65% of the population (37% in urban and over 80% in rural areas) live off the grid and have to rely on polluting fuels such as candles, kerosene or wood. There is a growing need for research into innovative solutions for making energy accessible to all with a stronger understanding of how end-users consume energy and how those trends will evolve.
This research will build on the innovative work of BBOXX , a next generation utility unlocking potential through energy access. With headquarters in London and operations in 12 countries including Rwanda, Kenya, Togo, DRC and Pakistan, BBOXX offer pay-as-you-go solar power. At the heart of BBOXX is their pioneering management platform, called Pulse, which continuously collects data and insights.  BBOXX are currently needing support to assess consumer behaviour and energy consumption trends, both current and future, to understand how best to meet future demand for energy and related solar power appliances.
For more information and to apply see here: UCL jobs page FindAPhD



New publication on last mile electrification in Columbia

Mini-wind turbine outside a blue-painted building in Choco, Columbia
The study undertaken by Julia Tomei, Jennifer Cronin, Gabrial Anandarajah and colleagues at Universidad Tecnológica del Chocó “Diego Luis Córdoba” in Colombia used mixed methods to follow an electrification process in Chocó, Colombia.  The high rate of access to electricity in Colombia masks inequalities and the team found that the purchase of appliances depends on needs, aspirations and capabilities. The study showed that PV battery mini-grids could provide a cost-viable alternative to municipal electricity grids and that access to electricity is not a one off intervention but must be maintained.  Access the full article for free: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1ZnDr7tZ6Zn7wx



PATHWAYS project develops framework for open-source models to support Ethiopia's transition to clean energy

Image of workshop attendees standing in front a buildingUnderstanding how behavioural issues can affect the overall demand for electricity and the future generation mix is vital for energy planning and the development of robust and appropriate energy policies.  The PATHWAYS project, which is funded the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), aims to develop possible transition pathways in Ethiopia to modern energy – specifically clean electricity – by incorporating behavioural issues in energy system modelling.

In May the project reached a key milestone with a two-day stakeholder engagement event in Addis Ababa.  

The event was organised by Oxford Policy Management and aimed to establish a platform for key stakeholders in Ethiopia’s energy sector to learn about this project and the other five projects under the EEG-Ethiopia country programme.  An important aspect of this was the chance to explore opportunities for synergy between the projects and Ethiopia’s ongoing energy reform activities. Attendees included H.E. Dr Seleshi Bekele, the Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy and other ministry staff, representatives from the Ethiopian Electric Utility, Ethiopian Energy Authority, project partners the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, the Ethiopia Policy Studies Institute and KTH Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), leading academics  DfID and members of the multi-partner research projects.

As a result of the workshop, a framework has been established for co-development of the project’s energy modelling tools with the Ethiopian Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE). The project aims for the open-source models developed by the PATHWAYS project team to be taken forward by MoWIE and applied in current and future energy system planning and policy development.

The PATHWAYS project is led by the UCL Energy and Development Group member Dr Gabrial Anandarajah supported by Dr Elusiyan Eludoyin, Mr Oliver Broad and Dr Julia Tomei.  You can find out more on the project website.

iNumber Training 

In April, the UCL Energy Institute welcomed colleagues from CEPT University in Ahmedabad for a week-long intensive training programme in urban building stock modelling.  Professor Rawal’s team already covers a broad range of expertise in building energy modelling, geographical information systems and energy monitoring.  The training course was designed to build on this expertise to accelerate the development of a data-driven, 3D urban model for Indian cities which will allow the building stock energy performance to be benchmarked and the impact of interventions to be assessed.  

Over the past 7 years, the Building Stock Modelling team within the UCL Energy Institute has developed a suite of GIS tools to combine data from a wide range of disparate sources to create a data-rich 3D model of a city known as 3D Stock.  This is combined with SimStock, a modelling platform which has been developed to generate dynamic thermal simulation models of the city based on the EnergyPlus simulation engine.  Together these tools allow the energy consumption of a city to be explored from the individual building to the city scale.  The course focussed on applying these tools to build a demonstration model of a section of Camden High Street.  During the week the team were also able to visit project partners, Bentley Systems, to explore how their reality mapping capabilities can be used to enhance the model.

The complexity of the tools being explored and the short course format made for an intensive but very enriching week of study.  Through it the participants developed a detailed knowledge of the tools and processes which they will be using to develop models for cities in India.  Importantly, the training programme also allowed the relationships between the two research teams to be further strengthened and future model development plans to be refined.

“I expected initially was that we would be able to see the work done by the team at your end and just understand.  But it went a lot beyond which was amazing, we didn’t just see and understand but we did a hands on practice.  We went one step ahead with it and working with the model which was practical and really helped a lot.” Himani Pandya

trainees and staff on steps of central house
trainees on site visit - Crowndale Centre
trainees on site visit - nicholas cameras

Myanmar Policy Brief

23 May 2019

UCL Energy and Development group researchers, Dr Gabrial Anandarajah and Ms Jen Cronin, prepared a policy brief jointly with researchers from Federation of Myanmar Engineering Societies to assist the Myanmar Government to formulate policies and strategies that can help to further enhance energy efficiency improvement activities in the Myanmar residential sector. The brief builds on the MECON research project findings and was co-developed through a stakeholder engagement workshop, which was organised in Nay Pyi Taw in May 2019 and was attended by 26 delegates representing a range of academics, energy industry representatives, development organisations, and policy makers representing various ministries. Four key topics were discussed in the stakeholder workshop, deeper analysis of which could reduce the energy efficiency gap in the residential sector: uncertainty and risks; learning-by-doing to remove information barriers; principal agent issues and consumer heterogeneity.

PhD Studentship Opportunity: Smart Cooking Solutions for ALL

19 May 2019

The lack of access to modern energy services continues to be the reality for over a billion people worldwide. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 65% of the population (37% in urban and over 80% in rural areas) live off the grid  and have to rely on polluting fuels such as candles, kerosene, charcoal and wood for lighting and cooking. There is a growing need for research into innovative solutions for making clean cooking fuels accessible. This research will be supervised by UCL Energy and Development Group member, Dr Priti Parikh and build on the innovative work of BBOXX, exploring the potential to use their management platforms to enable improved access to LPG to have a positive impact on households who currently use charcoal.

Further details including how to apply can be found here, the closing date for applications is 30 June 2019.

CEGE Senior Lecturer Priti Parikh awarded Royal Academy of Engineering Senior Research Fellowship

27 March 2019

Dr. Parikh has been awarded a prestigious five year Senior Research fellowship co-funded by industry (BBOXX) and Royal Academy of Engineering. The fellowship titled Smart Solar Solutions for all (S34ALL) will focus on smart solar solutions for resource challenged communities combining machine learning based models with consumer surveys.

Dr. Parikh has expertise in infrastructure (water, sanitation and energy) for resource constrained settings such as slums and rural communities in Africa and Asia. She has substantial industry experience in India and also a research based in infrastructure planning for cities to cover the areas of financial planning, institutional frameworks and societal impact.  She has substantial in-country experience in South Asia, Africa and UK working with local governments and slum communities and has led multi- sectoral projects at both city and community scale.

She is also the founder of the MSc in Engineering for International Development.