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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/M024652/1
Title: Measuring and Evaluating Time- and Energy-use Relationships (METER)
Principal Investigator: Grunewald, Dr P
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Bioregional Development Group Linkoping University Moixa Energy Holdings Ltd (group)
National Grid Pilio Limited University of Reading
Department: Environmental Change Institute SoGE
Organisation: University of Oxford
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 04 October 2015 Ends: 31 December 2021 Value (£): 829,094
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Efficiency
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
09 Jun 2015 Eng Fellowship Interviews Jun 2015 Announced
22 Apr 2015 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 22nd April 2015 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
METER addresses a fundamental research question: "What is the temporal relationship between electricity consumption and household activities?". To date this relationship is still poorly understood. METER will address this gap by collecting electricity consumption data in parallel with time-use information using adapted smart phone technology.

A detailed understanding of 'what electricity is used for', especially during peak demand periods, is important in addressing emerging system balancing challenges and to develop appropriate policy frameworks and business models leading to the cost effective integration of low-carbon generation.

At present electricity is supplied based on a 'predict and provide' paradigm - so long as we can forecast 'how much' electricity is required at any one time, the fleet of mostly fossil fuel based plants can be scheduled to deliver. Little knowledge about the end-uses of energy has been required for this approach. With low carbon sources, such as nuclear, solar and wind, more flexibility may be required from the demand side. Understanding the end use activities supported by electricity becomes more important when seeking to reduce or shift the timing of consumption.

Studies attempting to measure electricity use at the appliance level have so far been limited in their scale by the cost and complexity of instrumentation. The absence of statistically robust consumption data has been noted as limiting the UK's world leading research in this area.

METER develops a new approach to collect electricity consumption in parallel with time-use information. Smart phone technology, developed by colleagues at Oxford, will be deployed to measure electricity consumption at 1 second resolution and ask participants about the activities they undertake at critical times of the day. The use of smart phones allows this process to be performed at unprecedentedly low costs, such that over 2000 households can be included in the study. This scale is important, because electricity uses are highly diverse and only a sufficiently large sample allows to develop statistically significant evidence for researchers and policy makers.

The concurrent collection of time-use and electricity consumption can improve the accuracy of time-use research and provide new insights into the use and timing of electricity consumption and its relationship with household activities. The data and the analytical tools developed by METER will provide much needed insights into the timing of electricity uses, which can underpin a wide range of future research priorities. Among them are emerging energy system balancing challenges and broader policy challenges relying on statistically robust information about the relationship between energy use, demographics, lifestyles and their transitions over time.

Findings and insights from METER trials will become publicly available as part of a public outreach campaign, including interactive online tools to explore how Britain uses its electricity and what the public can do to support the transition towards a lower carbon future.
Key Findings
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.ox.ac.uk