Dr Jethro Browell

Published: 16 November 2021

energy forecasting, methods for predicting energy consumption, renewable energy production

Jethro Browell photo


Dr Jethro Browell
School of Mathematics & Statistics

Fellowship title “System-wide probabilistic energy forecasting”, July 2018 – December 2021 (hopefully will be extended to July 2022)

Area of Research energy forecasting, methods for predicting energy consumption, renewable energy production 

The topic of my fellowship is energy forecasting, methods for predicting energy consumption, renewable energy production and a host of other things from seconds to days-ahead. Energy forecasts are required to run an efficient, reliable, and low (or zero!) carbon energy system.

Why did you choose to pursue a fellowship in your research career?

I’m really motivated to work on one of the big challenges we face in the effort to mitigate the worst effects of climate change: how to de-carbonise energy consumption. After a PhD in wind power forecasting and post-doctoral work on a wide range of energy forecasting and power systems topics, I saw an opportunity to pull together my experience and contribute to the field. At the time, there weren’t any research groups in the UK making energy forecasting a priority, so I made it mine and a fellowship offered the opportunity to lead a range of research activities around that topic.

Why work at the University of Glasgow?

Glasgow has a long history of industrial innovation, and its universities have played a large role in that. And right now, the University’s statistics group is growing rapidly to meet demand for both research and education related to the masses of data society is generating, some have called this the fourth industrial revolution! It’s great to feel like part of this history, and University of Glasgow contributions, such as our Analytics, Inference, Innovation, and Impact, AI3, initiative.

How would you describe your research in 20 words or less?

Working out how to run a zero-carbon energy system with imperfect forecasts of supply and demand.

What is your research highlight?

Seeing some of the methods I’ve developed being deployed in industrial control rooms, knowing that decisions that impact our energy supply are being made using more informative forecasts than before, is an amazing feeling and certainly a highlight. But this wouldn’t be possible without the innovative enterprises, research collaborators, and enthusiastic students I have had the privilege of working with.

What do you look for in a collaboration?

I look for diversity in knowledge and experience, but a shared goal or ambition. My work is multi-disciplinary, combining statistics with engineering, meteorology, even psychology on occasion; I rely on collaboration with experts in these fields to make sure that my research is focused and relevant.

How do you see your research impacting society?

De-carbonising our energy system is a huge and important challenge, and I hope my research is moving us closer to that goal. Furthermore, as we gather more and more data about our lives and the world around us, new opportunities are being created to make ever more accurate predictions about future. I hope that my work on forecasting will have broader impact in other areas where important decisions are made using forecasts, which will always be imperfect, such as healthcare, environmental science, economics, and others.

What next?

My fellowship is almost complete, but some of the activities it seeded will continue. I’m working with one of my original project partners, National Grid ESO, and new collaborator TNEI, to turn some of my academic outputs into tools suitable for use in industry. I’m also working to bring learnings from energy forecasting to other sectors, such as healthcare and water management, where prediction and decision-making under uncertainty are a challenge.

First published: 16 November 2021