This section presents a selection of papers from members of the BEEP network. Please consult the profiles of individuals and research groups for more details.

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  • Journal article
    Hanna R, Gross R, 2020,

    How do energy systems model and scenario studies explicitly represent socio-economic, political and technological disruption and discontinuity? Implications for policy and practitioners

    , Energy Policy, ISSN: 0301-4215

    Scenarios may be qualitative or quantitative, the latter of which can be developed using energy systems models. This study explores how different energy systems models and scenarios explicitly represent and assess potential disruptions and discontinuities. The focus is on futures studies and forward-looking scenario and modelling exercises. We apply definitions of ‘emergent’ (uncoordinated) and ‘purposive’ (coordinated) disruption to a systematic review on how energy systems models and scenarios have been used to capture disruption and discontinuity. We first conducted a review of reviews of energy models and scenarios to provide an overview of their common classifications. Additional searches then sought studies which use different types of models and scenarios to explore disruption and discontinuity. We analyse a subset of 30 of these modelling or scenario studies in which authors self-identify and represent disruption or discontinuity, finding that the most frequently used methods were qualitative, exploratory foresight scenarios or agent-based models. We conclude that policy makers could prepare more effectively for social, economic and political disruption by integrating multidisciplinary insights from social and political sciences, engineering and economics through a broader range of methods: exploratory, foresight scenarios, simulation and agent-based models and repurposed energy systems optimisation models.

  • Report
    Carmichael R, Rhodes A, Hanna R, Gross Ret al., 2020,

    Smart and flexible electric heat: an energy futures lab briefing paper

    , Smart and Flexible Electric Heat: An Energy Futures Lab Briefing Paper

    Heating in residential, commercial and industrial settings makes up almost half of final energy consumption in the UK, more than the energy consumed for electricity or transport. The electrification of heat is anticipated to play a major role for the UK’s efforts to reduce emissions to net-zero by 2050. Heating demand is highly variable between seasons and time of day. To take maximum advantage of low-carbon generation, and to respect the limitations of the distribution grid, electricity loads for heating will need to be flexible. This Briefing Paper explores the potential for smart flexible low-carbon electric heating in UK homes and the challenges for consumer engagement. This paper considers four key elements for enabling smart, flexible and cost- effective electric heating in UK homes: low-carbon heating systems; cost-reflective electricity pricing; thermally efficient buildings; and smart storage devices.

  • Journal article
    Gross R, Hanna R, 2019,

    Path dependency in provision of domestic heating

    , Nature Energy, Vol: 4, Pages: 358-364, ISSN: 2058-7546

    In the UK, natural gas dominates the provision of heating in buildings. In Sweden, oil heating has been largely replaced by district heating and heat pumps. The origins and outcomes of path dependence and lock-in in heat system evolution can be country specific. Here, we compare case studies of heat transitions in the UK and Sweden, addressing the question: can path dependency help to understand why these countries have followed different paths in terms of change to their heating infrastructure? In both countries the development of heating infrastructures can be understood as path dependent processes, entailing increasing returns to adoption as fuel sources, infrastructures and end use technologies coevolve such that the overall performance of the system increases. The challenge for policymakers seeking to achieve carbon targets is to consider how to create the conditions to encourage increasing returns to adoption of low carbon heating solutions.

  • Report
    Hanna RF, 2017,

    Community Renewables Innovation Lab: Energy Transition Platform policy briefing

    , Publisher: The Climate Group

    Community renewables are installations of renewable electricity such as solar panels or wind turbines, which are owned by, or have significant benefits for, residents and local organisations. Such schemes not only help regional governments meet their carbon reduction targets, but they also engage citizens in the wider clean energy transition. Projects are considered as ‘community’ schemes if residents are highly involved in decision-making, or if there are local benefits such as energy access, job creation, regeneration and education. This policy briefing highlights the opportunities and challenges of developing community renewable schemes in four different states and regions in Canada, Spain, the UK and the US. The research is part of the Climate Group's Energy Transition Platform through which states and regions work together to overcome barriers to the adoption of low carbon energy policies and technologies. For schemes owned by community co-operatives, a significant challenge is raising sufficient capital. Without existing financial capacity in the local community, innovative approaches such as crowd funding are needed. While up-front and ongoing investment subsidies are beneficial, such financial support is often time limited and may not be sustainable long term. Hybrid models of ownership, such as partnerships between commercial developers, community organisations and local authorities, may be the most plausible arrangement. Capturing wider socio-economic benefits for local communities is also a challenge for commercially-led schemes, but may be more possible with hybrid ownership models. And while regional and national legislation can help – it can also hinder uptake of community renewables. One further challenge in three of the four states/regions considered is how to develop a smart grid infrastructure that can integrate large volumes of distributed generation.

  • Journal article
    Pothitou M, Hanna R, Chalvatzis K, 2017,

    ICT entertainment appliances' impact on domestic electricity consumption

    , Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol: 69, Pages: 843-853, ISSN: 1364-0321

    Increased electricity consumption and environmental impacts of Information Communication Technology (ICT) have been subjects of research since the 1990s. This paper focuses on consumer electronics in households, in particular TVs, computers and their peripherals. ICT accounts for almost 15% of global domestic electricity use, including waste energy from devices left on standby which is estimated in the EU-27 to contribute 6% of residential energy demand. In Europe, the household electricity consumption from small electronic appliances, including ICT, increased by 2.5 times in 2011 compared to 1990. Similarly, in the UK, energy demand from electronic devices accounted for 23% of total household electricity use in 2012, compared to 12% in 1990. This is an outcome of the market saturation of new, cheaper ICT entertainment devices, facilitated by marketing strategies which identify new needs for consumers, as charted by the review of market growth in this paper. New increasingly portable laptops, smart phones and tablets with wireless connectivity allow householders to perform a wider range of activities in a wider range of locations throughout the home, such as social networking while the television is active. We suggest that policies which consider how to increase the energy efficiency of ICT devices alone are unlikely to be successful since effective strategies need to address how the drivers which have developed around the use of ICT can be adapted in order to conserve electricity in households. A range of policy solutions are discussed, including feedback, public information campaigns, environmental education, energy labelling, bans of, or taxation on the least efficient products as well as the use of a TV as central hub to perform the existing functions of multiple devices.

  • Report
    Hanna RF, Gross R, Parrish B, 2016,

    Best practice in heat decarbonisation policy: A review of the international experience of policies to promote the uptake of low-carbon heat supply

    This evidence review evaluates the effectiveness of different policy approaches to support heat supply or infrastructure transitions internationally. Focusing on heat pump deployment and the roll out of district heating, the research identifies lessons from the international policy experience and assess how relevant these might be to the UK context. The report explores the role of different policies – including regulation, fiscal policies, incentives, planning policy and of different models of governance. It also considers historical and contextual factors such as ownership structures, resource endowments and energy prices. The review was undertaken by the UKERC Technology and Policy Assessment team in response to widespread stakeholder interest in policies related to the decarbonisation of heat. It informs the Committee on Climate Change review of heat decarbonisation and seeks to inform the UK Government’s heat strategy, forthcoming in 2017. The main aim of the research is to review and evaluate policies and policy packages used to bring about a substantial change in the technologies and infrastructures used to provide space heating and hot water for homes and businesses. The key question that this TPA project therefore asked is: What policies and other factors have driven change/transformation in heat delivery technologies, fuels and infrastructure?

  • Journal article
    Pothitou M, Hanna R, Chalvatzis K, 2016,

    Environmental knowledge, pro-environmental behaviour and energy savings in households: An empirical study

    , Applied Energy, Vol: 184, Pages: 1217-1229, ISSN: 0306-2619

    In this paper we evaluate the impact of knowledge about environmental and energy issues on potential pro-environmental behaviour in households, specifically relating to behaviours, attitudes and habits towards energy use. Our results are based on an empirical survey and we find significant correlations which indicate that residents with positive environmental values and greater environmental knowledge are more likely to demonstrate energy behaviours, attitudes and habits which lead to energy saving activities in households. This is further supported through a Principal Component Analysis (PCA), which suggests that energy saving behaviour may also vary according to gender and employment status. Conversely, we find only limited evidence of statistical associations between environmental predisposition and knowledge, and ownership and frequency of use of household appliances. We argue that our results contribute to the significant body of literature supporting the role of knowledge in active engagement with energy issues. This study is timely following closely policy developments in active consumer engagement by the European Commission.

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