10 April 2018 16:36

A team from Lancaster University will be part of a new £19.5 million UK Centre for Research on Energy Demand (UKCRED).

The new centre will develop and deliver internationally leading research focusing on energy demand from a systemic, socio-technical perspective.

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the centre will bring together a world-leading and multi-disciplinary group of researchers including energy experts Professor Elizabeth Shove and Dr Stanley Blue from Lancaster University’ Sociology Department.

The UKCRED will look to lead whole systems research on energy demand in the UK. It 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.

The proposed research will have several themes that align 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’.

Professor Shove and Dr Blue will work with Professor Jacopo Torriti at the University of Reading who is leading a theme on Flexibility. Research within this theme aims to engage with challenging questions about flexibility in energy systems and in society to be able to conceptualise and measure future flexibility in energy demand.

Professor Shove said: “The Flexibility theme includes six projects that examine aspects of spatial and temporal flexibility in energy systems and society. The aim is to develop new ways of conceptualising and measuring future flexibility in energy demand.

“We will be running projects to help conceptualise flexibility as an outcome of emerging socio-temporal patterns; and that improve understanding how rhythms and practices might fit with future decarbonised and renewable energy systems, and whether there are ways of modifying socio-temporal rhythms to fit better with also changing patterns of energy supply.” 

Professor Philip Nelson, the 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 UKCRED Centre involves more than 40 academics at 13 institutions across the UK including Oxford, Leeds, Reading, UCL, Loughborough, Manchester, Sussex, Surrey, LSE, Edinburgh, West of England and York Universities.