Unpacking energy demand: what it is and how it changes

The third in a series of introductory lectures on the big energy picture. These talks are open to everyone.

Energy demand characteristics are routinely under-represented in energy system analyses and in energy research, yet they are essential for understanding energy systems and for making realistic assessments of how to plan for a low-carbon future. In this talk I begin with a look at the basic elements of an energy system, then present some characteristics of demand (mostly in the UK) and how they are changing. I take a brief look at ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ energy paths outlined in the 1970s following the first oil crisis and use them as the basis for looking at current and possible future systems. Some key words when trying to match demand with supply effectively are scale, diversity, flexibility, quality and intelligibility.