By Caroline Bird, University of Bristol
EnergyREV are investigating the future skills and training needs for smart local energy systems (SLES). Using a case study approach including both area-based and project-based examples, we are able to examine both individual elements of a SLES, such as building and retrofit, energy supply, transport and mobility; and also the interconnecting infrastructure such as ICT systems, local government and policy, citizens and communities.
Our current case study is project-based, looking at the PFER Demonstrator, Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO). We have been conducting interviews online with key people from all the main project partners and some of their sub-contractors. This has provided rich data on skillsets relating to the different and innovative aspects of the project. Initial analysis suggests that whilst many specific new skills can be acquired by developing existing roles, the key skills that enable a cross-domain project to succeed are in the managers who need both knowledge of specific elements and understanding of the complexity of the SLES – skills which take a while to learn.
ESO is very different from our first case study, the city of Bristol (insights coming soon!). There are much clearer boundaries around the technologies, objectives and timeline of ESO. A city-based case study is a broader ecosystem which develops over time, but does provide valuable additional insight into the wide range of relevant actors and skills needed across the system and its many sub-systems. These contrasting case studies will provide complementary findings to draw together into overall project outcomes for the skills in SLES.