PhD Opportunity


Probabilistic Seasonal Forecasting and Climate Projections for Wind and Solar Energy in Ireland

Funding is available for a 4 year PhD project at the School of Mathematics and Statistics, UCD with the UCD Energy Institute.

This PhD project aims to improve our understanding of Renewable Energy Sources (RES, wind and solar) in Ireland over two timescales: forecasting RES generation from hours to months into the future, and studying past and future climates to quantify projected changes in RES generation.

The decarbonisation of the Energy System will play a vital role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and help mitigate the impacts of Climate Change. The technical and societal challenges inherent in decarbonisation are set to be enduring challenges of the mid-21st century and ones that will require a whole of society approach, encompassing academia, industry, government, and citizens.

NexSys is a newly established All Island SFI Strategic Partnership Programme focussed upon the transition to a net zero carbon energy system. It is a unique partnership bringing together a multidisciplinary research team, industry, and policy makers to tackle fundamental research questions to be addressed as part of the transition to net Zero. Hosted by UCD Energy Institute, NexSys brings together academics from nine institutions across the Island of Ireland (UCD, TCD, DCU, ESRI, Maynooth University, UCC, NUI Galway, Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast) to work together to meet the unprecedented scale and complexity of the challenges associated with the energy transition. 

A key challenge in the transition to decarbonisation is the efficient use of RES for electricity generation. 

This PhD project will use physical models of the atmosphere (Numerical Weather Prediction and Climate Modelling) alongside historical observed data and new-generation satellite data to drive the development of new forecasting methods and energy climate datasets. We are interested in two timescales. The first, forecasting, aims to develop new “seamless” probabilistic RES forecasts with time horizons from hours to months into the future. The second, climate projections, will develop high spatial (~1km) and temporal (hourly) resolution RES data for onshore wind, offshore wind and PV from 2000-2050, using historical system data and ensembles of recent atmospheric model data such as MÉRA, ERA5, and ICHEC-CMIP6. We will use this RES data to investigate generation and security of supply for different climate scenarios, and different proposed RES infrastructures.

Please send applications as pdf files to conor.sweeney@ucd.ie with your CV and a letter of motivation, academic transcript/degree certificate, and two academic referees. Application deadline: Friday 19th August 2022.