Years Active: 2012-2014


The UK faces multiple uncertainties in pursuing its energy and climate change goals, and in a challenging economic climate, UK energy futures have recently become more uncertain and contested. Contrasting scenarios are being articulated in public policy and in the private sector, and major areas of uncertainty (including supply side uncertainties over the contribution of different supply options, and demand-side uncertainties regarding future demand profiles) have become manifest.

The UK Energy Research Centre’s Energy Strategies Under Uncertainty project draws on a broad range of research being undertaken within the UKERC research programme, and wider research evidence, to address the dilemmas of UK energy policy-making and strategy development under uncertainty. The project ran for 24 months from May 2012 to April 2014.

Further Information

The overall aims of the project were:

  • To generate, synthesise and communicate evidence about the range and nature of the risks and uncertainties facing UK energy policy and the achievement of its goals relating to climate change, energy security and affordability.
  • To identify, using rigorous methods, strategies for mitigating risks and managing uncertainties for both public policymakers and private sector strategists.

Project Structure

The project includes five work streams:

  1. Conceptual framing, modelling and communication. The development of a taxonomy of methods for analysing uncertainty, and examining which methods are appropriate for exploring different uncertainty questions / issues. It also includes energy system modelling and research on the communication of uncertainties to policy and other audiences.
  2. Energy supply and network infrastructure. Includes research on uncertainties for low carbon innovation, investment in power generation, network infrastructures for low carbon heating and public engagement.
  3. Energy demand. Includes research on uncertainties associated with transport electrification and the future of residential heating.
  4. Environment and resources. Includes research on resource availability and sustainability, and on natural capital and ecosystem services.
  5. Empirical synthesis. Identifying common dimensions of uncertainty across the other work streams, and developing a ‘meta analysis’ of UK energy system uncertainties to integrate the project’s findings.

Within each work stream, the research will be guided by the following questions:

  • What are the main uncertainties in this area that could affect the achievement of the UK’s energy policy goals?
  • What is the range of possible outcomes in this area, their significance and likelihood, and the underlying factors that might influence outcomes?
  • How tractable are the uncertainties in this area to policy, regulatory or other interventions?

Key Ouputs

The project’s main outputs will include an edited journal special issue that will comprise commissioned papers that focus on different areas of uncertainty, an accessible stakeholder report that summarises key findings and a set of briefings that summarise the analysis from the project.

Main Report

Working Papers

For further information please contact Ioanna Ketsopoulou.