Video: Understanding the Energy Transition with a Machine Learning Toolbox (ERC Grant)

Logo of the European Research Council (ERC)

In this video, Mar Reguant (Northwestern and BSE) explains her ERC Consolidator Grant project aimed at understanding the impacts of the energy transition.

Video transcript

Mar Reguant:

Hello, my name is Mar Reguant and I’m a researcher here, at the Barcelona School of Economics. Since September, I have an ERC project looking at the impacts of the energy transition.

The goal of this project is to understand the impacts of the energy transition, as well as to contribute to the discussion on how to better design electricity markets to cope with the impacts that the transition is having.

The energy transition is having huge impacts in the electricity sector. First, because we need to decarbonize emissions, we need to reduce emissions from this sector greatly. But also, second,
because we need to adapt to a changing climate, which is also impacting the electricity grid.

So, in this project, we will examine the impacts of the energy transition, both on the supply and the demand side. On the supply side, for example, we have a project examining the impacts of the expansion of the transmission grid in Chile.

Chile has enormous solar resources in the Atacama Desert, but they cannot reach the city, Santiago. So there was a massive project to bring solar from Atacama to the city. The impact of the line is twofold. First of all, when the line turns on, we are allowed to create much more. But the biggest impact is a dynamic one. Without the line, 80 percent of solar installations in the Atacama Desert would not be viable.

On the demand side, we are exploring the impacts of more volatile prices on residential households. There is a concern that climate change will have uneven impacts on households, and, then, the low income households will be the most adversely affected.

For this project, we collected extremely detailed data on residential households’ consumption in the Spanish electricity market. We observed their hourly consumption every day of the year. We found that low income households are not adversely affected by daily variation in prices, because they are the ones who consume the least at the times in which prices are high. However, low income households are particularly vulnerable to seasonal variations in prices. This is extremely important given rising concerns about energy poverty in the European Union.

Climate change and the energy transition are the biggest challenge that we have ever faced. The goal of this project is to develop tools and statistical methods that can help us come up with answers that make this transition easier. I very much look forward to contributing to this key challenge with our team.


This video series is one of the Barcelona School of Economics research initiatives supported by the Severo Ochoa Research Excellence Program (CEX2019-000915-S) through Spain’s State Research Agency (Agencia Estatal de Investigaci√≥n – AEI).