New Thinking

These pages set out our wider thinking on issues relating to innovation, governance and practice for a sustainable, secure and affordable energy system.

  • New Thinking: The IGov institutional framework for energy governance

    July 9, 2019

    New Thinking: The IGov institutional framework for energy governance

    The IGov institutional framework for energy governance: Co-ordinated national and local governance of electricity, heat and energy services Catherine Mitchell, Rebecca Willis, Richard Hoggett, Tom Pownall, Richard Lowes, Jess Britton 9th July 2019 Since 2012, the IGov research project has examined how the energy system is governed, in GB and elsewhere, and what changes are necessary to bring about a secure, fair, zero-carbon system. In this blog, we bring together our proposals for the institutional frameworks that we argue are required. IGov has already published (in draft form) its proposals for the institutional framework at

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  • New Thinking: Governance for local energy transformations

    July 3, 2019

    New Thinking: Governance for local energy transformations

    Governance for local energy transformations Jess Britton, IGov Team, 3rd July 2019 It is an understatement to say that there has been a refocussing on local level coordination in energy system change. I have written before about the momentum at this scale, as well as the renewed attention of Local Enterprise Partnership (LEPs) and emerging Local Industrial Strategies in this area. There has also been the announcement of major demonstrator funding for smart, local energy systems via the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. But despite these developments there remains a significant mismatch between activity at this

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  • The significance of Parliament’s Citizens Assembly on net zero

    June 20, 2019

    The significance of Parliament’s Citizens Assembly on net zero

    Viewpoint: The significance of Parliament’s Citizens Assembly on net zero By Dr Matthew Lockwood, Senior Lecturer in Energy Policy, SPRU 20th June 2019 The announcement today from six House of Commons Select Committees that they are to hold a Citizens Assembly (CA) on how we might achieve a pathway to net zero emissions is a major step. The move is clearly inspired by (and made under pressure from) the upsurge of activism on climate change – school strikes, Extinction Rebellion protests, the resurgence of the Green New Deal and the declaration by numerous institutions, including Parliament,

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  • Building gender balance in the energy research portfolio

    June 17, 2019

    Building gender balance in the energy research portfolio

    How to build gender balance in the energy research portfolio – we need a Power Shift Basia Cieszewska, Jess Britton, Julie Smith, 17th June 2016 The challenge of rapidly decarbonising our energy system can’t be addressed if only half of the population is involved. Unfortunately it’s old news that women are significantly underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects, with the UK having the lowest proportion of female engineers in the EU[1]. Across all academic disciplines women account for 58% of Postgraduate students but only 25% of Professors[2]. Chris Skidmore, Minister of State

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  • New Thinking: Where is IGov on net zero?

    May 3, 2019

    New Thinking: Where is IGov on net zero?

    Where is IGov on Net Zero? Catherine Mitchell – IGov Team, 3rd May 2019 Given all the discussion over the last few days about when the UK and the world should reach net zero, we thought IGov should be clear on where we stand. The CCC has said that the UK ‘should set and vigorously pursue an ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) to ‘net-zero’ by 2050, ending the UK’s contribution to global warming within 30 years. Reflecting their respective circumstances, Scotland should set a net-zero GHG target for 2045 and Wales should

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  • New Thinking: we have a plan

    May 2, 2019

    New Thinking: we have a plan

    We have a plan – good governance to achieve a net-zero target Rebecca Willis and Catherine Mitchell, 2nd May 2019 This morning, the Committee on Climate Change recommended that the UK should strengthen its climate change targets, to move Britain to net-zero carbon by mid-Century. The advice, coming the day after the UK Parliament voted to declare a ‘climate emergency’, provides welcome evidence that far-reaching climate action is both feasible and economically sound. Throughout the report, the CCC stresses the crucial role of policy and governance in achieving a transition to zero-carbon. The target will,

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  • New Thinking: GB Policy Conservatism – we are in the vicious policy cycle phase

    February 15, 2019

    New Thinking: GB Policy Conservatism – we are in the vicious policy cycle phase

    GB Policy Conservatism – we are in the vicious policy cycle phase Catherine Mitchell – IGov Team, 15th February 2019 Anyone who has read anything that IGov has produced over the last 6 years knows that we argue that GB energy governance, of which energy policy is one part, is not fit for purpose. And on this day of striking schoolchildren and students, it increasingly seems to me that it is not just our infrastructure, regulation, policy and markets which are unfit for purpose but the really big problem is that Britain does not seem

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  • New Thinking: Simplifying energy governance to help the UK’s path to zero-carbon

    January 25, 2019

    New Thinking: Simplifying energy governance to help the UK’s path to zero-carbon

    Simplifying energy governance to help the UK’s path to zero-carbon  Rebecca Willis, IGov Team, 25th January 2019   The UK’s Climate Change Act sets an admirably simple, legally-binding framework for carbon reduction. The targets are clear. Yet the means to achieve them are opaque. As the government considers strengthening the UK’s targets, and moving toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the IGov project has offered evidence to the Committee on Climate Change on governance of the energy system. Pointing out the multiple, confusing institutions, policies and timeframes that characterise energy governance, IGov argue that

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  • New Thinking: The changing role of cities & local energy

    November 26, 2018

    New Thinking: The changing role of cities & local energy

    The changing role of cities and local energy – does energy system governance need to catch up? Jess Britton, IGov Team, 26th November 2018 It is now widely accepted that the transformation of the UK energy system is well underway with changes to technologies and business models, as well as evolving consumer preferences, challenging many of the principles and structures of the existing centralised and supply focussed energy system. At the same time there is growing consensus that local approaches to energy system change are becoming more important. This blog reviews the changing focus in

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  • New Thinking: Fuel poverty indicator letting down poorer households

    November 23, 2018

    New Thinking: Fuel poverty indicator letting down poorer households

    Fuel poverty indicator letting down poorer households Helen Poulter, 23rd Novermber 2018 Now we are in autumn, with winter and Christmas fast approaching, it’s time to batten down the hatches and keep warm and snug in our homes. A lovely time of year for some but not necessarily for those on a low income.  Shorter days and lower temperatures mean increased energy costs.  There are 3.5 million (12.9%) households in the UK affected by fuel poverty.  The purpose of this blog is to show that the current way of assessing the fuel poor via averaged

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