Mike’s thesis is entitled “Taking Charge: Perceived control and acceptability of domestic demand-side response”.
Mike tells us about his work and time with the LoLo CDT!
What was your PhD about?
In the future in Great Britain it is expected that we will get more of our electricity from renewable sources like wind. At the same time, we will use more electricity for things like heating our homes and transportation. Because it isn’t possible to turn the wind off and on at will, if we want to keep the supply and demand for electricity in balance the possibility will need to exist to influence how much electricity is being used at any given time. A prompted change in demand for electricity such as this is known as ‘demand-side response’.
While this is attractive in principle, the actual idea of having the technology we use turned off and on to moderate demand may not people. My research looked at what people think about different ways of doing demand-side response (such as by charging more for electricity at certain times or by allowing energy companies direct control over appliances in homes). In particular I was interested in how people thought their personal control would be affected in such a scenario. The findings of one of the pieces of research I undertook are summarized in this blog.
Your view on the LoLo experience
Compared to the conventional view of a PhD student toiling alone for years on their project, isolated from any human contact, LoLo has been very different. While there was indeed some toil, it was rarely alone as each new intake progressed through the programme together. The subject areas of people’s projects may have differed, but the general challenges were often similar and everyone was able to support each other through the process. Combined with the multidisciplinary membership of the Centre, the experience has been very positive!
What you are doing now
I’m back at UCL Energy Institute, now working as a research associate at the RCUK Centre for Energy Epidemiology. My focus is on behaviour and energy use in homes.