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High energy consumers

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April 2018 to September 2019

Project team

Jillian Anable

This project looks at identifying patterns of high level energy consumption – gas, electricity and car-based mobility and how this might be reduced.

High energy consumers

Increased electrification of heating and transport may result in localised strain on the electricity grid. How can these potential costly upgrades be avoided or the costs of these infrastructure investments be fairly distributed? Tackling ‘over consumption’ is a potentially efficient and equitable approach to reducing energy demand. Achieving this, will rely on understanding the reasons for high energy use and the structural, social, cultural and economic influences on these behaviours. This project will use novel datasets of domestic and mobility-related consumption data (for example, see www.motproject.net) plus primary quantitative and qualitative data, to develop and test a methodology for identifying, characterising and assessing locations that have disproportionately high levels of energy consumption (i.e. gas, electricity and car based mobility). The findings will be considered in the context of political theory and theories of consumption to structure definitions of high use consumers and to develop and assess approaches to equitable radical reductions. This understanding will inform a later project to model electricity networks at a local level.

What we are asking

  • How can we meaningfully identify, assess and characterise households or locations with disproportionately high levels of energy consumption?
  • What is energy demand being used for in the highest consuming households?
  • To what extent is high energy demand for domestic use correlated with high energy demand from mobility?
  • When is income a principal determinant of excess demand, and when is it not?
  • What is the relationship between energy poverty and excess demand?
  • To what extent do those who consume most energy also have the greatest social and economic capital to reduce consumption?