PhD: Equity implications of energy demand reduction strategies for achieving climate goals

Recent international and UK research has highlighted that energy demand reduction (EDR) can play a critical role and arguably is essential in meeting net-zero targets. An important question however concerns whether EDR measures can be implemented equitably. The objective of this PhD, linked to a large new UK research centre called Energy Demand Reduction Centre (EDRC), is to assess the role EDR can play in the UK energy transition, and the equity implications of different EDR strategies.

This studentship will first review the literature on equity concepts, and how they have been applied in the field of socio-technical energy transitions. This will provide the framing for the research project on the conceptualisation and application of equity. In parallel, an in-depth review will be undertaken of EDR measures and policies, and the potential of different EDR archetypes to deliver reductions in energy use. This empirically-based understanding of EDR measures (and their potential) will then be incorporated into an energy model to explore the potential role of such measures in the energy transition – but crucially their equity implications. Integrating equity concerns into modelling is a key gap in the literature, and a reason why this research is highly novel.

The successful candidate for this proposed studentship will need to have strong review skills but also a quantitative background in engineering or economics to develop a systems model that can assess the socio-economic implications of different EDR strategies. The candidate would also be expected to undertake some stakeholder engagement activities to explore perspective of EDR strategies with policy and NGO stakeholders. Finally, the candidate would need to collaborate with different parts of EDRC, with this studentship a key effort to bridge between the ‘futures’ and ‘equity’ themes of the centre.

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Closing date: 8 Jan 2024