Alternative future energy pathways: assessment of the potential of innovative decentralised energy systems in the UK
In order to meet its 2050 target of 80% carbon emissions reduction, the UK is facing a challenge of restructuring its energy system, possibly by introducing more decentralised energy (DE) systems. Following semi-structured interviews, four exemplar international cases have been critiqued in order to investigate the variety and interrelationship of the drivers and barriers involved during their implementation, and then compared with the barriers and drivers that can potentially affect the implementation of similar projects in the UK context. The impacts of the barriers on the outcomes of these projects were evaluated, and recommendations were presented on overcoming these barriers if replicating similar projects in the UK context. Governance drivers play the most significant role, whereas financial drivers (commonly believed to be crucial), are deemed to play a lesser role. Social, governance and financial barriers rather than technological barriers constitute the central problem areas for the increased adoption of DE. The drivers and barriers experienced in the international cases were similar to those anticipated in the UK. The case studies present a high potential for replication and scaling up in the UK context and demonstrate that the increased implementation of DE systems could also enhance social and governance benefits.
This work was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) UK EPSRC CLUES (Challenging Lock-in Through Urban Energy Systems) Project [grant number EP/1002170/1].
- Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering