Transforming the UK energy system

Transforming the UK energy system
Document type
Briefing
Corporate author(s)
Economic & Social Research Council
Publisher
ESRC
Date of publication
1 October 2013
Series
Evidence Briefings
Subject(s)
Trends: economic, social and technology trends affecting business
Collection
Business and management
Material type
Reports

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National policy goals for reliable, cost-efficient, and environmentally sustainable energy will demand a transformation of our whole ‘energy system’ - including resources and technologies for energy supply, infrastructure, consumer technologies and behaviours, stakeholder interaction, and regulation and policies. Developing different energy scenarios - often through expert modelling or engaging with stakeholders - is a key method for informing decision-making about energy system change. However, this means that energy system visions are based on these contributors’ perspectives, while the wider public perspective on system transitions is less explored. A greater understanding of public views on energy change could improve dialogue, encourage more robust decision-making, and highlight potential points of contention.

Researchers at the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), which is funded by Research Councils UK including the ESRC, have examined public values and perspectives on whole energy system change through a series of deliberative workshops with public participants and a nationally representative survey. The synthesis report Transforming the UK energy system: Public values, attitudes and acceptability outlines public views on the drivers of energy policy, the different elements of energy system change, and the underlying values and principles that people draw on when they engage with this issue. The main conclusion is that the British public are positive about the need to change the energy system - both how energy is supplied and consumed. The research also reveals a set of core values that people wish to see underpinning the future energy system.

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