UKERC Energy Strategies Under Uncertainty - Identifying techniques for managing uncertainty in the energy sector

01 Apr 2014
Energy Strategies Under Uncertainty

The ‘energy system’ can refer to both the physical assets (i.e. the physical grid that connects power plants, power-stations, distribution centres, residential homes and industrial plants together) and also non-physical lines of communication that exist between the system actors (e.g. operators, regulators, consultants, academics, policy makers and ministers). The focus of this research is the latter and the development of a conceptual model to help practitioners transparently show, which techniques they use (and why) to assess risk and uncertainty in their decision-making.

Extensive work has been carried out on the characterisation of uncertainty to improve the transparency of decision processes. For example, scholars have shown the use of hierarchical models such as decision trees to illustrate how decisions collectively string together. Others have used techniques such as evidence-support logic to allow decision makers to represent how sufficient and dependent responses(s) to a supporting decision(s) are given the evidence base to support these decisions. Attempts have also been made to use agent-based simulations to represent the influence that personal and organisational features have on these measures of sufficiency and dependency for evidence. However, gaps still exist in the knowledge with regards to how practitioners account transparently for the techniques they use to assess risk and uncertainty when answering a decision. The conceptual model presented in this working paper addresses this by: 1) showing transparently what type of knowledge practitioners believe they require to answer their decisions; and 2) justifying which technique(s) they might use given the type of knowledge they believe exists to support their decision.



This Working Paper identifies techniques for managing uncertainty in the energy sector. This work was undertaken as part of the UK Energy Strategies Under Uncertainty project.