PhD Studentship – Integrating Decentralised Energy Trading Platforms into Power System Planning



The Institute for Energy Systems at the University of Edinburgh invites applications for a PhD studentship for the project “Integrating Decentralised Energy Trading Platforms into Power System Planning”. The project will investigate how value can be created by incorporating new digital market platforms for peer-to-peer energy trading and local flexibility as core system components when planning electrical transmission and distribution networks.

Power systems are being transformed by the rapid adoption of distributed energy resources, including renewable sources, electric vehicles, home batteries and heat-pumps. When combined with consumer-level ICT infrastructure, these resources allow previously passive consumers to become ‘prosumers’ – consumers who can proactively manage their consumption, production and storage of energy.

Recently, a range of new designs for decentralised energy trading platforms have been proposed, offering new opportunities to incentivise coordination between prosumers and integrate their flexibility into the operation of the power system. These include markets for local flexibility, which enable prosumers to help their distribution system operator manage voltage and thermal constraints, as well as peer-to-peer energy trading platforms which create value by helping to match renewable generation with flexible demand on a localised basis.

A significant amount of research has focused on how decentralised energy trading platforms can create value from an operational perspective. However, a major source of unrealised value is the opportunity for these markets to reduce the need for generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure. Realising this value will require a fundamentally new approach for planning power systems, where the potential to incentivise coordinated prosumer operation is incorporated into how networks are designed, and investment decisions are made.

The project will focus on research into novel methods for modelling decentralised market platforms as a new type of partially controllable power system resource, and for integrating the design of the products, negotiation protocols and incentive mechanisms that characterise these markets into transmission and distribution network planning. The project will bring together advances from distributed stochastic optimisation, game theory and machine learning to address the large-scale nature of the problem and the need to make robust decisions in an environment of considerable uncertainty.

Please note that this position may be closed early if a suitable candidate is identified.

Further Information:

Successful candidates will join the Institute for Energy Systems within the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. The institute has links with industry partners across the UK energy sector as well as leading energy system researchers from multiple disciplines through projects such as “EnergyREV – Market Design for Scaling Up Local Clean Energy Systems”, which is being completed as part of the UK’s £100m Prospering from the Energy Revolution Challenge initiative.

Interested applicants are welcome to contact Dr. Thomas Morstyn by email for additional information ( Applications should be submitted via the University’s online system here.

Please ensure that you upload a current CV, a 1-2 page research proposal and your final/interim degree transcript(s) when applying.

Funding Notes

Tuition fees and stipend are available for Home/EU students (International students can apply, but the funding only covers the Home/EU fee rate).