Dr Phil Coker is a chartered Mechanical Engineer, whose career to date has been split equally between academia and the UK energy industry. His research explores the challenges of variability as we integrate ever higher levels of renewable energy in our energy systems. This combines with teaching across low carbon infrastructure, carbon management and wider sustainability principles. Phil’s return to academia followed 15 years in the UK gas industry as an engineer, manager and consultant.

Phil completed his PhD, Assessing the variability of UK renewables, at the University of Reading, in 2011. Since then, his work has developed from characterising patterns in energy supply, through analysing areas of critical concern for energy systems, to exploring solutions such as demand response, energy storage, electric vehicle integration and hydrogen applications. Industry relevance has remained paramount and projects have involved partners including energy companies, energy users and solutions providers.


Associate Professor, University of Reading

Qualifications and membershipsTeachingResearch interestsIndustry


BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering, University of Bath

PhD, University of Reading

Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice, 2013


Member (CEng), Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Fellow, Higher Education Academy


Teaching has concentrated on systems level aspects of renewable energy supply, alongside wider techno-economic matters including carbon management and energy policy. This has also extended to wider aspects of sustainability including fundamental concepts and the values of systems thinking. Modules led have included Urban Energy Systems, Carbon Management, and Sustainability; most recently extending to Sustainable Infrastructure.


Research has addressed three intertwined themes: characterising patterns in energy supply availability; analysing areas of critical concern for energy systems, including extreme, coincident and unforeseen events; and exploring options for aligning supply and demand, including alternatives such as demand response, energy storage, electric vehicle integration and hydrogen applications. Numerous projects have been supported from funding through EPSRC, Innovate UK, DfT and from industry partners, with projects including SMaRT (Sustainable Heavy Duty Truck, Marine and Rail Transport), CREDS (Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions) and a series helping National Grid understand the implications of increasing wind generation.



Worked for the UK gas industry post privatisation, during a period of rapid change from British Gas through Transco to National Grid. Gained a diversity of experience across various technical specialisations with responsibilities ranging from planning to operations. This included leading site operations for the gas supply to Didcot Power Station during the 1990s “Dash for Gas”. Management roles included quality and competence assurance.


Book Chapters
  • Coker, P. (2020) The future of energy in Reading. In: Dixon, T. and Farrelly, L., eds. (2020) Reading 2050: A Smart and Sustainable City. School of the Built Environment University of Reading, Reading, UK.
  • Coker, P. and Torriti, J. (2018) Energy interactions: the growing interplay between buildings and energy networks. In: Dixon, T., Connaughton, J. and Green, S. (eds.) Sustainable Futures in the Built Environment to 2050: A Foresight Approach to Construction and Development. Wiley, Hoboken, USA, pp. 287-309, Chapter 14 (within Part 4: Transformative Technologies and Innovation). ISBN 9781119063810
Journal Papers
  • Daneshzand, Farzaneh, Coker, Phil J., Potter, Ben and Smith, Stefan T. (2023) EV smart charging: how tariff selection influences grid stress and carbon reduction. Applied Energy, 348. 121482. ISSN 0306-2619 doi:
  • Coker, P. J., Bloomfield, H. C., Drew, D. R. and Brayshaw, D. J. (2020) Interannual weather variability and the challenges for Great Britain’s electricity market design. Renewable Energy, 150. pp. 509-522. ISSN 0960-1481 doi:
  • Drew, D. R., Coker, P. J., Bloomfield, H. C., Brayshaw, D. J., Barlow, J. F. and Richards, A. (2019) Sunny windy Sundays. Renewable Energy, 138. pp. 870-875. ISSN 0960-1481 doi:
  • Drew, D. R., Barlow, J. F. and Coker, P. J. (2018) Identifying and characterising large ramps in power output of offshore wind farms. Renewable Energy, 127. pp. 195-203. ISSN 0960-1481 doi:
  • Bloomfield, H., Brayshaw, D. J., Shaffrey, L., Coker, P. J. and Thornton, H. E. (2018) The changing sensitivity of power systems to meteorological drivers: a case study of Great Britain. Environmental Research Letters, 13 (5). 054028. ISSN 1748-9326 doi:
  • Drew, D. R., Cannon, D. J., Barlow, J. F., Coker, P. J. and Frame, T. (2017) The importance of forecasting regional wind power ramping: a case study for the UK. Renewable Energy. ISSN 0960-1481 doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2017.07.069
  • Bloomfield, H. C., Brayshaw, D. J., Shaffrey, L. C., Coker, P. J. and Thornton, H.E. (2016) Quantifying the increasing sensitivity of power systems to climate variability. Environmental Research Letters, 11 (12). 124025. ISSN 1748-9326 doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/12/124025
  • Daniels, L., Coker, P. and Potter, B. (2016) Embodied carbon dioxide of network assets in a decarbonised electricity grid. Applied Energy, 180. 142 – 154. ISSN 0306-2619 doi: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.07.044
  • Daniels, L., Coker, P., Gunn, A. and Potter, B. (2016) Using proxies to calculate the carbon impact of investment into electricity network assets. Applied Energy, 162. pp. 551-560. ISSN 0306-2619 doi: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2015.10.111
  • Kubik, M. L., Coker, P. J. and Barlow, J. F. (2015) Increasing thermal plant flexibility in a high renewables power system. Applied Energy, 154. pp. 102-111. ISSN 0306-2619 doi: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2015.04.063
  • Saker, D., Vahdati, M., Coker, P. and Millward, S. (2015) Assessing the benefits of domestic hot fill washing appliances. Energy and Buildings, 93. pp. 282-294. ISSN 0378-7788 doi: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2015.02.027
  • Cannon, D.J., Brayshaw, D.J., Methven, J., Coker, P.J. and Lenaghan, D. (2015) Using reanalysis data to quantify extreme wind power generation statistics : a 33 year case study in Great Britain. Renewable Energy, 75. pp. 767-778. ISSN 0960-1481 doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2014.10.024
  • Drew, D., Cannon, D., Brayshaw, D., Barlow, J. and Coker, P. (2015) The impact of future offshore wind farms on wind power generation in Great Britain. Resources Policy, 4 (1). pp. 155-171. ISSN 0301-4207 doi: 10.3390/resources4010155
  • Rawlings, J., Coker, P., Doak, J. and Burfoot, B. (2014) Do smart grids offer a new incentive for SME carbon reduction? Sustainable Cities and Society, 10. pp. 245-250. ISSN 2210-6707 doi: 10.1016/j.scs.2013.04.003
  • Lee, T., Yao, R. and Coker, P. (2014) An analysis of UK policies for domestic energy reduction using an agent based tool. Energy Policy, 66. pp. 267-279. ISSN 0301-4215 doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.11.004
  • Kubik, M. L., Brayshaw, D. J., Coker, P. J. and Barlow, J. F. (2013) Exploring the role of reanalysis data in simulating regional wind generation variability over Northern Ireland. Renewable Energy, 57. pp. 558-561. ISSN 0960-1481 doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2013.02.012
  • Coker, P., Barlow, J., Cockerill, T. and Shipworth, D. (2013) Measuring significant variability characteristics: An assessment of three UK renewables. Renewable Energy, 53. pp. 111-120. ISSN 0960-1481 doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2012.11.013
  • Kubik, M. L., Coker, P. J., Barlow, J. F. and Hunt, C. (2013) A study into the accuracy of using meteorological wind data to estimate turbine generation output. Renewable Energy, 51. pp. 153-158. ISSN 0960-1481 doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2012.08.084
  • Kubik, M.L., Coker, P.J. and Hunt, C. (2012) The role of conventional generation in managing variability. Energy Policy, 50. pp. 253-261. ISSN 0301-4215 doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.07.010 (Special section: Past and prospective energy transitions – insights from history)