The issues of climate change, its impacts, and our collective responses are rising in the consciousness of civil society, industry leaders, and politicians.
Last October’s IPCC report on Global Warming of 1.5°C; this month’s CCC report on Net Zero; and declarations of a state of climate emergency at both national and local levels have highlighted the urgency of the issue and the scale of the challenge.
Importantly, the challenges are not (just) technical in nature. Rather, there is an urgent need to shift to more effective forms of governance in order to tackle climate change with the urgency that’s needed.
Over the last seven years the focus of the IGov project at the University of Exeter has been on the role of governance* for innovation within the GB energy system. It has considered how current governance is constraining change, as well as how governance can shift to enable a rapid transformation towards a more sustainable energy system.
‘Transforming Energy Systems: Why governance matters’ is a free online course by the IGov team exploring why and how energy systems need to change to rapidly decarbonise the GB energy system in a cost-effective, secure and equitable manner.
It examines the key elements of effective energy governance; explores real-life examples of energy governance from around the world; and proposes a governance framework capable of meeting the CCC budgets.
The course is for absolutely anyone with an interest in learning more about energy system governance and change, and particularly those with existing knowledge or interest in energy systems and energy system change. This includes energy practitioners, policymakers, regulators, researchers and students in the field.
The course is delivered by experts from within the Energy Policy Group at the University of Exeter.
Transforming Energy Systems is a four week course with each week focusing on a specific topic:
Week 1: ‘Energy system transformation: Changes, challenges and governance’ introduces the basics of energy systems; the links between energy systems, climate change, air pollution and equity; the value of taking a 4D approach (decarbonisation, decentralisation, digitisation and democratisation); and the role of energy governance in system transformation.
Week 2: ‘Emerging Energy Systems’ examines how the characteristics and operation of energy systems are changing, particularly in terms of moves to a smarter, more flexible future; how this is affecting value flows and new business models within energy systems; what energy system transformation means for current institutions; and considers the broader role of people, scale and society.
Week 3: ‘People, Scale and Society’ explores the importance of people, society and scale to the energy system transformation; the importance of ‘meaningful public consent’; the increasing focus on ‘local’ energy, and the implications of this; society’s role in system change; and system optimisation across multiple scales.
Week 4: ‘Energy governance change for rapid decarbonisation’ considers how we might coordinate the governance of electricity, heat and transport; the importance of a people-focused energy system, and how to get it; explores examples of good energy governance from other countries; and proposes a fit-for purpose energy governance framework for energy system transformation.
To enrol, or to find out more information, visit the FutureLearn site here.
*The IGov project defines governance as the policies, institutions, rules and incentives related to the energy system, and the underlying decision-making process which establishes those rules and incentives.