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CREDS Annual Report: October 2019 to September 2020

The CREDS consortium

Introduction

The Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS) was established as part of the UKRI Energy Programme in April 2018 and has been running for 2.5 years, with funding of £19.5M over 5 years from EPSRC and ESRC. Its mission is to make the UK a leader in understanding the changes in energy demand needed for the transition to a secure and affordable, low carbon energy system. We are now a team of over 140 people based in 24 UK organisations.

The aims of the Centre are:

  • to develop and deliver internationally leading research, focused on energy demand;
  • to secure impact for UK energy demand research in businesses and policymaking; and
  • to champion the importance of energy demand.

This is CREDS’ second annual report covering the period from October 2019 to September 2020. The first annual report was published in November 2019.

Download the full version CREDS Annual Report: October 2019 to September 2020, pdfOpens in a new tab (30 pages, 1.4 MB) or read on for a summary:

Research progress

2.1 Buildings & Energy

In the Health and energy efficiency project we are working on evaluating health status and energy performance of housing now that access to secure data during lockdown has been resolved. Some researchers have shifted their time onto COVID-19-specific tasks (see Section 2), so some elements of sub-projects have been postponed or combined. New research in the sub-project on the performance gap can now be undertaken thanks to additional income from the BEIS-funded SMETER project. The buildings team has produced a paper on the incorporation of solar gains into dynamic thermal models and brought together a compilation of novel data sets and algorithm development to produce digitally generated in-use building efficiency certificates.

The London version of 3Dstock London Building Stock Model (LSBM) was launched by the Greater London Authority (GLA), leading to broad media coverage. LSBM is being used by the GLA and London boroughs to identify poorly performing dwellings and non-domestic buildings, and it supports London boroughs in enforcing Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES).

The 3DStock model has been developed further, including a journal paper and animation, plus the modelling of properties across Sheffield. 3DStock is also being used with metered data to provide BEIS with insights into the impact EPCs have on a buildings’ energy use.

The theme has made considerable policy impact, including advice to government about the future of the transition to low carbon energy use through reports, consultation, and meetings with a range of senior government officials and Ministers, for example, Social Market Foundation (SMF) and Scottish Power roundtable, “addressing the challenges and trade-offs from the decarbonisation of home heat” where the audience included Keith Anderson, Chief Executive of Scottish Power and Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, BEIS Minister.

Researcher George Bennett has been seconded part-time to the BEIS Building Research Team in the Science and Innovation for Climate and Energy (SICE) Department, from January 2020 to March 2021. He will provide technical and policy support in the areas of heating and hot water systems performance, future clean heat strategies and new evidence planning.

We have continued to make an impact internationally, with the launch of the Global Roadmap for Buildings and Construction, co-authored by UCL with the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the UN Environment Programme in July 2020. The Lancet Countdown on Health & Climate Change 2019 Report was launched in London, in November. We were also involved in a webinar workshop titled Global ABC Regional Roadmap for Buildings and Construction in Latin America, run by the Costa Rica Green Building Council.

A variety of proposals linked to CREDS work have been submitted, including using 3DStock as the basis for the EPSRC Centre to Centre call. We also submitted a modified proposal to a new Innovate UK call. It plans to use 3DStock to support the development of a detailed design of a smart local energy system (SLES) in collaboration with Camden Council and an energy service company.

Two new projects have been added to the buildings theme, funded from the ECR Flexible Fund call

2.2 Transport & Mobility

Work is now underway on all six projects under this theme, resulting in many blog articles, briefings and papers. Although there have been some delays in fieldwork and recruitment due to COVID-19, the pandemic has also brought a considerable additional workstream involving a large-scale primary data collection effort to investigate the effect of COVID-19 on travel and socialising adaptability.

The project on High-End Consumers (Excess) is conducting online one-to-one interviews and online deliberative workshops. Recruitment of high-end consumers (who are both difficult to define and notoriously difficult to reach) is more challenging online, but we are saving on travel costs. A book chapter on Social divisions in energy consumption in the transport sector: personal car ownership and use has been approved for the Research Handbook on Energy and Society. A policy briefing note on ‘excess’ concepts and spatial analysis has been drafted. A paper on Trends in air travel inequality in the UK: from the few to the many? has been submitted. and links have been made with the new FAIR project (Theme 8) looking at transport poverty. The outputs were fed into the project on modelling flexibility over time, mode and place to explore the relationships between socioeconomic, geographic and built environment variables and car ownership. Work on fairness and tackling ‘excess’ travel and energy demand was used to provide advice to the UK Climate Citizens Assembly and the Greater Cambridge Citizen’s Assembly.

The Commission on Travel Demand has postponed the planned work on leisure travel to 2022, and instead the next inquiry will be a synthesis of work on travel adaptations due to the pandemic. The transport team are now holding monthly evidence exchanges with Transport Scotland, Transport for the North, Strathclyde Passenger Transport, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Transport for Greater Manchester, Highways England, Department for Transport, and Transport for London.

The transport team has completed high-profile policy-facing work for the Local Government Association (LGA) with a series of seven briefing notes on decarbonising transport (covering ambitious action plans, buses, climate smart parking, electric vehicles, growing cycle use, online opportunities and accessibility). They provide practical guidance to councils that are developing strategies to address the climate emergency.

Work to assess of the potential for e-bikes to substitute for car use in England culminated in a briefing note that gained widespread media and policy attention.

The media interest in electric vehicles and petrol/diesel phase out has, and will continue to, lead to wider dissemination activities for this team, directed at both the general public and national policy. For example: the consultation response and ongoing engagement with the UK Government’s Electric Vehicles and Energy Taskforce, and a new parallel task force – Road Automotive Power Infrastructure Review (BEIS/OLEV).
Further engagement within the theme has included extensive technical presentations, media interviews on radio and TV, consultation responses, and expert advice to panels.

Two projects funded under the CREDS ECR (see Section 5) call are beginning within Theme 2.

2.3 Materials & Products

All projects in the theme are now well underway, and are making good progress.

A report (written in collaboration with Aether) published in May 2020 – A data strategy to promote the clean growth of UK industries – found that data are not currently good enough to provide robust evidence, and that there is an urgent need for a public, high-quality data strategy which gathers linked data. The report concluded that ideal dataset(s) should be readily updatable, open access, and independently managed. The report has been promoted with a policy brief, news story, social media activity and an online meeting with BEIS.

Industrial energy demand projections have been modelled for the steel and cement industry, resulting in reports, an academic paper and presentation at ECEEE Industrial Efficiency online in September.

A modelling approach grounded in stock dynamics has been used to assess the interplay between a number of energy and resource demand-reduction options, including: production efficiency; product lightweighting; reuse and recycling; material substitution; lifetime extension; product switching; and changes to the service supplied.

Initial findings and a modelling framework that can be applied to multiple products and materials focusing on passenger cars was presented at a conference.

A literature review on consumption-based mitigation options across various end-use sectors looked at household-level consumption data to illustrate the distribution of carbon footprints and consumption within 26 European Union countries, regions and social groups. This has resulted in many articles, blog posts and journal papers, for example, Quantifying the potential for climate change mitigation of consumption options. It was launched in May with an article on the BBC website that reached half a million hits within the first week of being published. Most households have too large a carbon footprint: this needs to be dealt with at a systemic (not individual) level by policymakers, for example, by not incentivising luxuries such as air travel, and better addressing car dependency that is most acute for people with lower incomes. A simplified figure from the Environment Research Letters paper has been submitted to the Summary for Policy Makers for the next IPCC report.

Work on exploring how the use of materials and products throughout the supply chain can deliver a reduction in industrial energy use has included an independent report on industrial decarbonisation policies to inform the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) recommendations on the UK’s 6th Carbon Budget. This involved extensive engagement with CCC analysts, BEIS, Energy Systems Catapult, industry and the third sector (for example, Green Alliance). Three stakeholder workshops have taken place and a stakeholder survey was launched and completed. The findings will be published in December 2020 to coincide with the publication of the CCC’s recommendations.

The project on reducing energy in construction, including a new UK standard for whole life carbon assessment in buildings and a UK roadmap, will be substantially affected by COVID-19. So far, we have engaged with eight different sets of construction project partners (clients, architects, contractors etc.) as part of the Embodied Carbon Living Lab where we provide technical advice on embodied/whole life carbon and in exchange partners provide data and trial opportunities. These interactions will continue remotely, but since many construction companies are severely affected by COVID-19 we are unlikely to be able to engage with new partners. As a result, we will undertake alternate work on the same topic. This has already begun, for example, with a recently completed report for Zero Waste Scotland on embodied carbon, prepared in conjunction with Scottish partners.

We have collaborated with other research programmes (Cardiff (CAST) and Manchester, Oxford), NGOs (Oxfam, Climate Outreach) and internationally to contribute to the UNEP Emissions Gap report on lifestyle change, How can equitable low-carbon lifestyles be achieved? Behaviour change, collective responses, and routes towards rapid policy shifts.

2.4 Flexibility

The Theme is progressing well, with five live projects out of the six initially planned, including: flexibility: past, present and future, measuring flexibility of demand, conceptualising flexibility, flexible demand-side technologies and temporality; and price and time elasticity.

In the period of this annual review the flexibility theme generated a book – Appraising the Economics of Smart Meters – and five journal articles (covering time of use tariffs, conceptualising how time is represented, barriers to demand-side response, time-use methodologies applied to residential electricity demand, and links between hot weather and electricity demand in Italy). Researchers successfully recruited historians and other academics for a special issue in Energy History on Flexibility in the Past, and ran a 2-day workshop for contributors to discuss the draft papers. These papers are now submitted to the journal.

Our international visitor, Max Kleinebrahm (Karlsruher Institut für Technologie) visited us between February and March 2020. Our collaboration on flexibility and machine learning produced a conference paper which was submitted to the 34th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, Vancouver, Canada, and a journal paper which is about to be submitted. The other two international visitors (Dr Yamaguchi from University of Osaka and Dr Yilmaz from University of Geneva) have started taking part in our online theme gatherings, and will implement their plan of collaborative research remotely.

We have provided regular advice to policymakers, including to: Ofgem on forward-looking charging review and half-hourly settlement reform; Defra on resource efficiency, waste reduction and consumption emissions; and the British Standards Institute on smart electric vehicle charge point standards. The theme has also provided responses to consultations including the Energy Networks Association consultation on flexibility. Engagement activities also included many presentations at events, and webinars and workshops. Part of Theme 4’s ambition is to engage in dialogue with other themes to interrogate how timing of energy demand and flexibility are taken into account in other streams of work within CREDS. A CREDS conference on ‘Flexibility, Time and Energy Demand’ was planned for April 2021 but this has been postponed until 2022 due to COVID-19. Instead, we initiated a series of online events to attract international excellence in flexibility research and facilitate collaborations. Accordingly, the first of three flexibility reading rooms was held in July on Conceptualising Flexibility. This was well attended, with a mix of engineers, physicists and social sciences, plus the editor of Time and Society. The second reading room is scheduled for 1 October 2020 on the topic of seasonality, with more planned for 2021.

One project funded under the CREDS ECR (see Section 5) call was allocated to Theme 4:

2.5 Digital society

Work within the Digital Society theme is progessing well, and we have published a total of 21 academic papers with several more in submission. Our project Reviewing the evidence on ICTs and energy consumption, involved three systematic reviews: E-materialisation, E-working and E-sharing. Each one reviewed the evidence for impacts of these trends on economy-wide energy consumption. Two papers, on E-materialisation (the use of ICT to replace physical goods such as newspapers, books and shopping) and on E-working (teleworking), have been published in Environmental Research Letters, as part of a special edition on the use of systematic reviews for climate and energy policy. The teleworking paper attracted significant media attention with articles in the Telegraph, iNews and Forbes, and generated interest from BEIS and the IPCC.

The review of the energy impacts of E-sharing (IT platform-enabled sharing of physical goods such as cars and appliances) is in progress. We have completed interviews and surveys with the Library of Things (LoT) team (about how the system and borrowing platform works) and are currently analysing the responses.

The project on anticipating future impacts of ICT on energy consumption has collected data on the price and consumption of communication for the UK, and completed analysis in income and price elasticities of communication. Data collection for postal and telephone prices in other countries is underway. The recruitment process for a new researcher was delayed by the pandemic, but the post has now been filled and further work has begun on developing and analysing scenarios for the impacts of digitalisation on energy demand and economic output.

Research into the use of ICT for new energy service business models is now complete, and one paper has been submitted with a second paper being written in collaboration with Theme 6 Policy. Findings from the project were also turned into an innovation brief supported by the core team, and were fed into the Greater Brighton Energy Plan and have also resulted in further impact accelerator funding from Sussex University.

The funding will establish a new Innovation Forum that will create space for collaboration, exchange and innovation to drive decarbonisation for the Greater Brighton region.

The work on accelerated diffusion of smart meters involved comparative case studies of smart meter roll-outs in three countries: Norway (a clear leader, state-led rollout), Portugal (moderate leader, a DSO-led rollout) and the UK (supplier-led rollout). A paper summarising the results has been submitted and the second phase of the project is currently underway.

The project on expectations for automated vehicles has completed the ‘professional’ Delphi survey and 3 rounds of ‘public’ Delphi surveys, and focuses on the ‘three revolutions’ (electrification, sharing and automation) as ways to reduce transport energy demand.

We have produced a range of papers for the user acceptance of smart homes project looking at gender, vulnerability, domestic violence and family power demographics related to smart home technologies. It has also benefited from a fruitful collaboration with Energy Systems Catapult’s Living Lab.

As part of the work within anticipating future impacts of ICTs on energy consumption we hope to explore in more detail how ICT behaviour may change as a result of the pandemic.

We contributed to two government consultation responses/calls for evidence.
One project funded under the CREDS ECR call was allocated to
Theme 5:

2.6 Policy & Governance

The theme is progressing well, with all projects underway and a steady stream of outputs being produced. These include conference papers, book chapters, journal articles (including in high status journals such as Nature Energy), as well as several blog articles on the CREDS website, and consultation responses. Three of our team are co-editing a forthcoming Research Handbook on Energy & Society, part of a series by Edward Elgar Publishing. The book brings together contributions from all areas of this theme including chapters on Comparing local energy efficiency and heat policy in England and Scotland, The social impacts of peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading, and Energy policy for buildings fit for the future, as well as contributions from other themes, such as transport.

Despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, the policy theme has active, ongoing engagement with a range of stakeholders, particularly in industry and government. We contribute to technical and policy working groups, including engaging with renovation quality standards development (residential retrofit PAS 2035/2030:2019, and non-domestic buildings, PAS 2038). A Scottish session at CREDS WCM6 that brought together Scottish Government with CREDS researchers from Edinburgh led to an invitation to present a Seminar for Scottish Government Heat and Energy Efficiency Team (August). One team member sits as a Commissioner on Scotland’s Infrastructure Commission which is now in phase 2 and focuses on governance structures to advance investment in infrastructure for a Net Zero Carbon inclusive economy. Other engagement with policymakers, includes contributions to several calls for evidence such as BEIS’ consultation on energy-related products.

In response to COVID-19, we are involved in new initiatives and finding new ways to engage audiences with our research. The team is undertaking new work around training for the construction industry, which includes contributions to the Construction Leadership Council Industry Recovery Plan, and is feeding ideas into HM Treasury for economic recovery, including housing retrofit. The peer-to-peer trading game (Watts the Deal?), has been progressed with an online version, as delivering it in person is no longer possible. The response to the game has been very positive, with tens of decision-makers from communities, regulatory bodies, local authorities and NGOs benefiting from experiential learning and discussions about P2P trading.

Work continues on our research themes, with timing and research methods adjusted as necessary. Investigations into building renovation continue, with increased focus on the non-domestic sector. Research on multi-level governance has included a comparative review of English and Scottish policy frameworks for energy efficiency in buildings, and routes to decarbonising heating. Work on City Deals and energy demand continues. The research on consumer demand for P2P energy trading planned to run surveys in UK and Switzerland, but these were delayed and will be run in the next period. The project on policy asymmetry (prioritisation of supply issues over demand) has started by collecting data from cooperative energy, community energy and social enterprise representatives, and energy demand experts using an online survey (Menti) and in-depth interviews.

This theme is hosting three international visitors from Pakistan, Israel and The Netherlands. One visitor arrived in February and the other visits are on hold due to COVID-19, but work is continuing remotely where possible. For example, we are editing a journal special issue on personal carbon trading with our Israeli visitor.

Two projects funded under the CREDS ECR call are linked into Theme 6:

2.7 Decarbonisation of heat

The Decarbonisation of Heat Challenge focuses on the system architecture of decarbonised heat rather than specific technologies. To do this, we are reviewing the literature for how heat can be decarbonised; analysing and further developing existing whole energy system models (UK TIMES model (UKTM) and ESTIMO), and evaluating potential social, regulatory and governance implications of findings. An initial review of the way in which energy system modelling has supported energy and decarbonisation policy over the last 15 years is complete and has resulted in an article in Energies Heat Decarbonisation Modelling Approaches in the UK: An Energy System Architecture Perspective. The findings have fed into the second part of the work on developing the energy system models with respect to treatment of energy system architecture.

We have made significant progress with UKTM. UKTM is a least-cost optimisation model based on life-cycle costs (2010–2050) of competing technology pathways. It is the successor to UK MARKAL, and has been used by UK government since 2015.

We have run it in myopic mode to better represent some aspects of real-world policy-making (using a 5-year period, with a foresight of 10 years instead of perfect foresight of 40 years). This allows investigation of the evolvability of the system in terms of costs and technology options. A Monte Carlo Analysis (MCA) provides probability distributions of possible outcomes to look at the uncertainties of certain parameters.

The ESTIMO model simulates the UK and European energy system on an hourly basis, as driven by social activities and meteorology. It is used to design, simulate and cost national systems with different heat shares. Three different heat shares have been explored – consumer heat pumps, district heating heat pumps and electrolytic hydrogen boilers. ESTIMO uniquely allows the exploration of weather impacts on whole energy systems over long time scales, so that flexible architectures that are resilient to extreme weather events and climate change can be designed in. Further development is ongoing. Results from the model have contributed to the Royal Society report on long-term storage needs.

Information about the work was shared with stakeholders in a joint heat/core team workshop, with a view to supporting strategic decision-making in Government and industry. Participants reviewed the results from our two modelling teams and from stakeholder interviews, and then took part in breakout group discussions. Other engagement during this period has included representation at the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Energy Studies (PGES) on the impact of net zero and energy infrastructure in March 2020, a response to the BEIS consultation on Heat Decarbonisation and a keynote presentation to the Energy Policy Session, Lost Generation: System Resilience and Flexibility MIT AB 2020 Online Conference.

The development of a Special Issue of Energies on “Decarbonising Heating and Cooling” (Lowe & Chiu eds.) is under way.

A proposal was submitted, under the UKRI Decarbonisation of Heating and Cooling 2020 Call, for 3 years’ funding. This bid builds on the System Architecture foundations laid in CREDS Decarbonsiation of heat Theme.

2.8 Fuel and Transport Poverty – FAIR

The FAIR theme is investigating who may be vulnerable to both fuel and transport poverty in the UK’s transition to net zero. This means examining the likelihood that a household will experience fuel and transport poverty, how it impacts on their well-being and how they can respond to it. We will also look at where these effects are seen so that we can understand both the systemic and spatial drivers in the UK. Further work will look at how those who are already vulnerable may be affected by an energy transition, and whether new inequalities may emerge. As a result we hope to propose solutions for an energy transition that promotes a more just society.
The project has been progressing as best as it can during the COVID-19 pandemic as it was due to start extensive data collection via face-to-face interviews in April 2020, but these have been delayed. In the meantime, good progress has been made with a systematic literature review to develop a conceptual framework. We are conducting a comparison of literature on fuel poverty/energy poverty and transport poverty, specifically examining the socio-demographic groups that are vulnerable to each problem. This has led to the publication of a policy briefing supported by the core team (Vulnerability to fuel and transport poverty) that was developed as a follow-up from a meeting with HM Treasury. The review also fed into the recruitment strategy for household interviews, and informed a forthcoming publication under review in Joule.

The team is finalising details of the recruitment processes for household interviews with theme partner Energy Saving Trust (EST). Ethical approval from the University of Sussex and the University of Edinburgh is secured, and EST has developed a step-by-step recruitment plan. A CREDS Data Management Plan is in place. However, there have been challenges to the start of data. There are two main issues – a delay in response from EST’s partner organisations, which were busy helping vulnerable people with the initial pandemic response back in March/April 2020, and a delay in signing a data-sharing agreement between EST, Sussex and Oxford. While this agreement between project partners is being finalised, an additional online platform is being used as further route to recruit study participants (and which does not require data-sharing agreements). As a result, we were able to start the household interviews by online/phone in October 2020.

We have developed engagement plans, a stakeholder map and a communications plan together with the core team and partners Green Alliance and EST, and have made changes accordingly due to COVID-19. As part of cross-theme engagement within CREDS, there are regular meetings with the Transport theme (Excess project team) about data, sharing tips on data collection, and collaboration on future publications. FAIR has also engaged externally by hosting a first stakeholder engagement event (September), bringing together policy representatives from the UK government and the devolved administrations. This event introduced them to the project and its themes, laying the groundwork for future interaction. Anecdotal feedback showed that they were interested in our approach. Green Alliance has also started conversations with civil servants and some MPs, and has started to publish blog articles on its Inside Track site. FAIR was also a panel member at the National Energy (NEA) Action Warm Homes Week panel following a ministerial address on a session entitled Fuel Poverty and Climate Change: How can we hardwire fairness and equity into the next zero journey? There was also social media activity on twitter during the panel with #warmhomesweek.

2.9 Decarbonisation of the steel industry

The work in this theme is focused on integrated strategies to eliminate the dependence of iron and steel production on fossil carbon. The steel industry is one of the most carbon intensive sectors and is very challenging to decarbonise. There have been efforts to develop various routes for decarbonising steel production, such as use of hydrogen, carbon capture and storage (CCS), biomass and some industry roadmap development. What is lacking, and our work aims to provide, is truly integrated strategy that incorporates technologies, policies, stakeholders and especially their interaction.

The work involves two main areas: expert interviews (now to be held online) with those in the steel industry to develop stakeholder visions; and modelling using the MATLAB-based energy system tool to investigate the optimal combination of energy system technologies to decarbonise the steel industry.

In the first area, we are developing the theoretical framework that will be used to create guidelines for the interviews and to analyse the data once interviews are finished. The interviews will capture five main issues relevant to the steel decarbonisation process: 1) expectations, interests, and strategies, 2) policy, 3) potential impacts of decarbonising the steel industry in the organisation’s interest, 4) technological development; and 5) perceived obstacles to steel decarbonisation. The interviews will be scoping semi-structured interviews. The application for research ethics approval from the University of Leeds Faculty of Environment Research Ethics Committee has now been approved. There have been initial discussions with several stakeholders including British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA), Royce Institute, Swerim, University of Sheffield, UK Steel, and BHC Ltd. Further engagement activities and awareness raising has taken place including attendance at the BCSA Sustainability Group.

In the second, the energy system model has been further developed to fully account for the various components required to meet the electricity and hydrogen requirements of fossil-free primary steelmaking based on hydrogen direct reduction and electric arc furnaces. Dispatchable backup generation (in the form of CCGT + CCS and biomass + CCS) is now included in the model, along with energy generation and storage costs, and projected fuel and carbon costs recently published by the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The results are being written up for a journal paper.

Engagement and knowledge exchange

Engagement with UKRI included twice-yearly meetings and regular emails, along with sharing big news stories and our Communications and Engagement Plan for 2020. The plan reviews the progress of the 2019 strategy, and also sets out our plan for 2020.

Engagement and championing of energy demand has been a major part of our work this year – Nick Eyre, Jillian Anable, Sally Cairns and John Barrett gave evidence to the Climate Assembly UK, members of CREDS sit on ISO standards Technical Committees, staff have given extensive presentations to expert panels, local Citizens’ Assemblies, schools, local authorities and the Energy Systems Catapult. There are also many examples within the theme sections showcasing our engagement with the public, business and policy audiences.

We have developed strong links with relevant Government departments and other key parts of the public sector (for example, BEIS, MHCLG, Treasury, DfT, CCC, Scottish Government, Transport Scotland, Ofgem, and MPs, Association for Decentralised Energy, UK Green Building Council, France’s High Council on Climate). These links allow us to contribute directly to policymaking, providing expert advice, facilitating cross-departmental discussions, championing energy demand, and providing a rapid response to immediate needs. For example, we responded to direct requests from BEIS on both the lessons from condensing boiler market transformation and the scope for increasing household energy efficiency retrofit.

We began a collaboration bringing together senior officials from BEIS and MGCLG, with the aim of moving from a reactive to a proactive, strategic relationship that will be more impactful. CREDS has made presentations to Ministers on retrofitting homes, just energy policy, and decarbonising transport.

We launched a number of policy briefing notes, the first on the potential carbon savings from e-bikes which we released to the national and trade media. The story was picked up by the BBC with coverage on national radio, regional media and online cycling sites. We provided two briefings for HM Treasury, Policy for energy demand reduction and Vulnerability to fuel and transport poverty. Green Alliance launched its policy-facing report Balancing the Energy Equation, based on CREDS’ research in Shifting the Focus, that was further promoted with a series of blog articles. Finally, CREDS collaborated on a series of seven briefing notes on decarbonising transport for the Local Government Association (LGA) to assist local councils who have declared a climate emergency. During the year we have submitted six consultation responses.

In our role as facilitators of the Energy Demand Research Network (EDRN), we held an event in April on ‘How might Energy Demand Research respond to the Climate Emergency?’ It brought together researchers from both academia and the third sector who work at different timescales and different levels of detail to discuss how our research might have greater real-world impact, and to learn from each other. Speakers from CREDS, CAST, Oxfam and Citizens Advice joined us. Over 70 people attended, including overseas participants and resulted in very positive feedback.

We ran a series of webinars including: How to influence the 6th Carbon Budget, Demand-side Flexibility: Beyond price and technology, Energy efficiency in a post lockdown world: Earthshot not moonshot in conjunction with Integrate (Oxford Martin Programme on Integrating Renewable Energy) and Policy and impact: how does research make a difference? Webinars will run regularly from now on.

Publication details

Downing, C. 2020. CREDS Annual Report: October 2019 to September 2020. Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions, Oxford.

Banner photo credit: Alireza Attari on Unsplash

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