Society-led low carbon transformation

Topics: Mitigation
Type: Briefing paper
Publication date: June 2017

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Summary

Author: Dr Jeffrey Hardy

Graphic green town

Introduction

Our energy system – vital for keeping us warm, fed, entertained, mobile and productive – is changing. It is becoming cleaner and smarter, driven by environmental law, an explosion of data and rapid technological development. In the future, peoples’ role as relatively passive consumers may end. This is because a future low-carbon energy system is more efficient and affordable if people consume energy when it is available, for instance, when the sun is shining and the wind blowing. There are also increasing opportunities for people and communities to take more control over energy, driven by the falling costs of technologies, like solar photovoltaic panels.

The cheapest future energy system is a smart and efficient one – the National Infrastructure Commission thinks a smart power system, where demand follows available supply, could save consumers up to £8 billion a year by 2030. This is a business opportunity for existing and new energy companies.

This study has centred on two potential future energy business models that put people or communities in control of energy. One model, 3rd Party Control, is where a company engages on your behalf in the energy system. The other model, Shared Economy, is where communities have come together to own and operate their local energy system.

During the research, energy stakeholders examined two futures, in which one or the other business models has dominated the market. They were asked “what would have to happen for this to be true?” Their answers give insight into: what is driving new business models; the issues they could face; and insight into the decisions that can be taken to enable new businesses to thrive. This graphic is a summary of the findings.

Download: Society-led low carbon transformation

The paper was launched at a Grantham Institute Breakfast Briefing. Download the event slides: Event slides: Society-led low carbon transformation .

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