Broadcast: News items

Shifting the focus: energy demand in a net-zero carbon UK

The Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS) has today launched its first major cross-theme report, based on existing research, called Shifting the focus: energy demand in a net-zero carbon UK.

The report proposes actions to strengthen and deliver the commitments in the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy. It seeks to answer the question: “what is the role for energy demand change in the transition to an energy system consistent with a net-zero carbon UK?”

The CREDS consortium is a team of more than 90 academics at 13 academic institutionsincluding the University of Sussex which was established last year. The research centre has a vision to make the UK a leader in understanding the changes in energy demand needed for the transition to a secure and affordable, low carbon energy system.

The centre's first report contains around 40 recommendations, some of which are very specific, but at a high-level it recommends:

- Prioritising energy demand solutions and recognising all of their benefits.
- Scaling-up policies that work now and investing in energy demand innovation in the long-term.
- That Government acts now to develop effective institutions and policy.

Report co-author Tim Foxon, Professor of Sustainability Transitions at the University of Sussex, said: "“The introduction of new digital technologies and business models can play a significant role in further carbon reductions towards the net zero target, but this needs to be done in a way that meets wider social and environmental goals, including reducing social inequality.”

Nick Eyre, CREDS Director, said: “Changing the way we use energy will be crucial to delivering a net-zero carbon UK. Energy supply has tended to be the main concern of energy policy, we need to shift that focus towards energy demand.
“Demand-side change has to be a major part of the strategy for an affordable, secure, net-zero carbon energy system. Delivering it will not be easy, as it is a broad and complex agenda. But delivering the UK’s transition without doing this would be much more difficult.”

In a foreword to the report, Chris Stark, Chief Executive, Committee on Climate Change, said: “Public support for changing the way energy is used is essential. Reducing energy demand saves money for households and businesses, of course, as well as reducing emissions. And importantly, it can have other benefits – improving air quality, improving our homes and public spaces, and creating employment across the UK.”

Visit to download the full report and read a summary of recommendations.

By: Neil Vowles
Last updated: Friday, 5 July 2019