If we are to get on to a sustainable path to achieve our long-term low-carbon energy transition objectives, we have much more work to do on energy demand. It was welcome news to
A new research centre, the UK Centre for Research on Energy Demand (UKCRED), to develop and deliver internationally leading research, focusing on energy demand from a systemic, socio-technical perspective, is announced today by two research councils.
Funded with £19.5 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), it will bring together a world-leading and multi-disciplinary group of researchers and be led by the RCUK Energy Demand Research Champion, Professor Nick Eyre, at the University of Oxford. Nick is an old friend of EiD.
The funding is for an initial period of five years.
They will look to lead whole systems research on energy demand in the UK. They will champion research that is inter-disciplinary and whole systems, focusing on the energy demand aspects of the transition to a secure and affordable low carbon energy system, and the existing excellent single-disciplinary and component-related research.
Nick Eyre said: “The goals of a secure, affordable, low carbon energy system are only achievable if energy demand is reduced, decarbonised and made more flexible. Understanding how these changes can happen is a major inter-disciplinary research challenge.
The UK Centre for Research on Energy Demand gives us a major opportunity to address this challenge, building on existing excellent UK research. We aim to play a leading role in global research, and for the Centre to act as a hub, enabling all UK energy demand research to have more coordinated impact on business and policy decisions.”
The proposed programme of research will have several themes that align well with elements of the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, especially ‘Improving Business and Industry Efficiency’, ‘Improving our Homes’ and ‘Accelerating the Shift to Low Carbon Transport’.
The Centre involves over 40 academics at 13 institutions across the UK and Professor Eyre will be supported by a team of seven Co-Directors who have a balance of skills, covering the key energy demand sectors – buildings, transport and industry – and a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds.
Collectively they have almost 200 person years of experience in energy demand research, with an emphasis on technology, innovation and systems perspectives. The Co-Directors all have a track record of strong commitment to inter-disciplinary research. They have played leading roles in all the key research council investments in energy demand research, including the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and the End Use Energy Demand (EUED) Centres.
Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC’s Chief Executive, said: “This new Centre for Research on Energy Demand will play an important role in developing policy and practical innovations that can help the UK address energy demand over the coming decades. The inter-disciplinary nature of the research means we can get a much clearer picture of what needs to be done, both technologically and socially, to bring about change in energy use and demand. The team led by Professor Eyre are of a high calibre and I am confident they will make a big difference to the long term ambitions of the UK to meet its international obligations.”
The UKCRED involves the following institutions:
University of Oxford
University of Leeds
University of Reading
University College London
The University of Manchester
University of Sussex
University of Surrey
London School of Economics
University of Edinburgh
University of the West of England
University of York
As EiD noted recently in an article by Andrew Warren there are some disruptive technologies, such as bitcoins, that will need attention. Again, last week we noticed some of the increasing demand in the transport sector, even as electric vehicles start to make some impact.
We look forward to soon see the results from some of the research activities and EiD will be following its progress with great interest. We hope to see similar initiatives in other countries.