Policy & Governance

Our Policy & Governance work is focused on researching the policies that are in place and the policies that are still needed for further reducing energy demand; the governance of energy demand; and how to integrate energy demand into energy supply policies.

Policy & Governance is one of the cross-cutting issues we research.

There is widespread agreement in the energy demand research and stakeholder communities that governance and policy are key drivers of change. Relatively rapid progress in demand reduction in the UK since 2004, for example in boiler, vehicle and appliance efficiency and in insulation adoption, has largely been policy driven. In the UK, the future role of EU-driven policies remains uncertain. In contrast, there is general agreement that the roles of both devolved and local government will be increasingly important. Given the scale of ambition for carbon emissions reduction, it is increasingly important to understand the effectiveness of policy instruments in driving change.

To address this, we are:

Exploring how policy can support further energy demand changes

Our work in this area looks at how we can go beyond highly cost effective energy efficiency, incorporating deeper technical changes and user practices. This involves consideration of both technology-focused and people-focused policies.

Examining why devolved, regional and local authorities are responding differently to the goals of low energy, low carbon development and retrofit

Much higher levels of decentralised investment and user engagement will be required to deliver policy objectives. More localised decision-making could both improve local delivery mechanisms and increase political legitimacy and citizen engagement. Our projects in this area compare the various energy efficiency policies that exist at different governance levels.

Assessing how energy demand policy can be more effectively integrated with energy supply policy

The goals of reducing demand receive less attention in policymaking than energy supply, even where demand side change could secure similar policy objectives more cost effectively. Our projects in this area look at why this is; how such policies could be designed and whether disruption of the supply/demand distinction in markets with radical ICTs might change this situation.

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