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Local Authorities and Energy Investments: Challenging Research?

Jan Webb, Dave Hawkey and Mags Tingey presented research findings at the Energy Systems Catapult

Much is asserted about the potential for UK local governments to accelerate development of clean energy and achievement of climate protection goals, but little is known about their current actions on energy or their capacity to do more.  On 21 June, Jan Webb, Dave Hawkey and Mags Tingey presented a snapshot of research findings on Local Engagement in UK Energy Systems at the Energy Systems Catapult. Delegates from Local and UK Governments, Local Energy Partnerships, UK Energy Research Centre, Energy Systems Catapult, Energy Technologies Institute, and UK 100 were invited to challenge our arguments, as a way to ensure their accuracy and to sharpen up our policy recommendations for local leadership for clean energy. The workshop focused on two aspects of findings from 40 case studies of Local Authority energy initiatives: 

  • Business structures, contexts and objectives; 
  • Implications for policy and institutional support for localised clean energy and energy efficiency.

Local engagement in clean energy is a critical topic for society, and needs new policy and more research. Our research shows that local ambitions are considerable and there are already highly diverse and impressive achievements, with energy saving and low carbon heat as key areas. Uncertainties over the future of energy policy and local government finances is however slowing down projects, instead of facilitating the step change needed to meet climate commitments.

The workshop discussions will help shape the final project report published in the autumn.

Thanks to the Energy Systems Catapult for hosting us in Birmingham.

Local Engagement in UK Energy Systems http://www.sociology.ed.ac.uk/leukes 

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