Non-technical barriers for challenging lock-in to urban energy systems: learning from international case studies

2013-04-05T08:26:59Z (GMT) by Chris Goodier Ksenia Chmutina
In order to meet its 2050 target of 80% carbon reduction, and hence evolve towards a more sustainable energy future, the UK faces a significant challenge of restructuring its energy system, by demonstrating more decentralised energy systems based not only on technological but also on more innovative governance, financial and social approaches. Four exemplar international cases have been compared and critiqued in order to demonstrate the variety and inter-relationship of the non-technical barriers involved during their implementation. This study finds that the main non-technical barriers are not necessarily financial, as is often believed. Governance barriers also play an important role in the success or failure of a project. Social barriers such as public apathy and misinformation regarding energy consumption also often affect the operation of a project. The impacts of the non-technical barriers on the outcome of the four cases are also evaluated and recommendations are provided on overcoming these barriers with regards replicating similar projects in the UK context. This work also provides potentially valuable implications and learning for the innovative development and initiation of renewable energy systems in a variety of countries and settings.