The transition to smart local energy systems (SLES) will lead to new opportunities and occupations across energy and associated systems, each coming with a need for new/updated employee skillsets.
To support the transition to SLES, the content and level of education and training provision to the existing and emerging energy system workforce needs to be updated, any skills gaps identified and redressed, and new skills needs anticipated. This would then ensure that the workforce is well trained and ready to take up the new opportunities as they arise.
EnergyREV’s Skills Needs Assessment is working on identifying the skills that are expected to be in high demand with the advent of SLES so as to inform training provision and related policy decisions. The work takes into consideration local circumstances in order to factor in different regional characteristics and needs.
The Skills Needs Assessment work package first reviewed the methods used for assessing skills needs and shortages. Given that low carbon energy is not classified as a separate sector, there is no consistent data collected for the sector’s skills. As a result, the work package chose to use case studies.
So far, case studies have been completed for the city of Bristol and for the Energy Superhub Oxford PFER project. Through these case studies skillsets have been identified that are expected to be in high demand in the next five to seven years. Factors that propel or impede transition to SLES within each study locality have been analysed. We have also identified training provision modes.
Two further case studies are in the pipeline, together with focus groups to validate the emerging findings. Finally, a review of training provision needs will be undertaken.
The case studies have commenced with:
A key insight is not to view SLES as a single system, but as a set of loosely interconnected, semi-independent sub-systems that form a system-of-systems.
The key sub-systems in a SLES (though not all always present) are:
Skills training is necessary both:
(a) Within each of the above subsystems, and
(b) Across subsystems.
The skills in high demand in SLES range from specialist power system design and integration needs to generic communication and management.
Despite the varied context of the case studies, a common set of skills likely to become scarce in SLES is identified.
Theme Lead: Ruzanna Chitchyan
Co-Investigator: Roberto Ferrero
Briefing: Skills for Smart Local Energy Systems: Integrated case study briefing (May 2022)
Briefing & Webinar: Bristol: a case study on the training and skills needed for a smart local energy ‘system of systems’ (May 2021)
Research technical report: Bristol as a Smart Local Energy System of Systems: Skills Case Study (April 2021)
Conference Paper: Qualitative Study of Skills Needs for Community Energy Projects (June 2020)
Conference paper: Exploring Future Skills Shortage in the Transition to Localised and Low-Carbon Energy Systems (Jun 2019)