SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

Transformative technologies in energy, buildings and transport

Meeting the goals enshrined in the UNFCCC Paris Agreement and limiting global temperature increases to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels demands rapid reductions in global carbon dioxide emissions. Reducing energy demand has a central role in achieving this goal, but existing policy initiatives have been largely incremental in terms of the technological and behavioural changes they encourage.

A panel discussion bringing together high-level representatives of the UK energy sector was hosted by the Sussex Energy Group (SEG) to discuss the role of technologies in reducing energy demand in the UK, focusing not only on new innovations in the energy sector, but also on the role of people in achieving a low carbon future.

The ‘Transformative technologies in energy, buildings and transport’ event was held in February at Central Hall, Westminster and was chaired by Sussex Energy Group Director Professor Benjamin Sovacool. It provided the opportunity to discuss the recently published book “Transitions in Energy Efficiency and Demand – The Emergence, Diffusion and Impact of Low-Carbon Innovation”, which brought together contributions from the members of a  Research Councils UK-funded project, the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED).

The panel discussion started with Benjamin Sovacool introducing SEG and CIED. This was followed by two panels: the first one on ‘Transport and mobility’ and the second on ‘Energy in buildings’.

Read SPRU Doctoral Researcher, Eleanor Drabik’s blog about the event to find out what was discussed.

Watch the recording of the event:

The first panel featured:

  • Alex Gilbert – Senior Energy Strategy Manager, Transport for London
  • Paul Appleby – Head of Energy Economics, British Petroleum
  • Debbie Hopkins – Department Research Lecturer, Transport Studies Unit, University of Oxford

The second panel consisted of:

  • Joanne Wade - Deputy Director, Association for Decentralised Energy
  • Jeremy Vincent – Head of Energy Social Research, Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
  • Jim Watson - Director, UK Energy Research Centre / Professor of Energy Policy, University College London (previously SPRU)
  • Kirsten Jenkins – Lecturer, University of Brighton (previously SPRU)

Each panellist presented a short pitch, which was followed by questions from the audience and a discussion.

About CIED: The Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED) was a research project funded by Research Councils UK from 2013 to early 2019. The Centre examined how new, low-energy innovations emerge and spread and how this process is shaped by market forces, government policy, social interactions and cultural norms.

Find out more about the Sussex Energy Group

Photos from 'transformative technologies in energy, buildings and transport'