The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and the Energy Policy Group at the University of Exeter organised a workshop to discuss challenges and solutions surrounding energy governance. The meeting brought together around 100 energy professionals from academia, business, the public sector, and nongovernmental organisations and its findings are summarised in a report of the event which is published today.
The UK has a challenging set of energy goals to fulfil before 2050, relating to sustainability, security and affordability. There is a great deal of uncertainty about which technological pathways the UK will follow in order to meet those targets. What has become clear is that getting the governance right is essential if the UK is to move forward in a transparent and legitimate manner which enables that transition, supported by stakeholders.
The reports highlights the UK Climate Change Act as an example of good governance and suggests that a similar act for energy might provide solutions, particularly if it was accompanied by a committee of experts on energy policy, to allow for independent expertise supporting policy.
The speakers also agreed the need for a more diverse energy market, reduced volatility in energy prices and energy policy, and a change in the role of energy consumers, from passive to active.
“To date, governance of UK energy policy has been very “top-down” and supply orientated,” comments Professor Catherine Mitchell, UKERC researcher and energy policy expert at the University of Exeter. “The policies reflect the interests of large energy suppliers rather than their customers. However customers are crucial to the success of the policies, but their preferences have largely been ignored.”
The ‘Governance: Challenges and Solutions for Sustainable, Secure and Affordable British Energy System’ event was held on International Women’s Day and all of the 37 speakers were women. Co-ordinated by the UKERC Meeting Place, the aim was to bring together female expert speakers who could contribute to the debate, providing a refreshing change to mostly male-dominated energy environment.
The report also captures comments from high-profile speakers such as Leigh Hancher, European energy policy expert at international law firm Allen & Overy, Juliet Davenport, CEO and founder of renewable electricity supplier Good Energy, and British environmental campaigner Baroness Worthington.
Notes to Editors:
For further information, or to interview Professor Catherine Mitchell, please contact Lindsay Wright or Charlotte Knight at the UK Energy Research Centre:
020 7594 1573
The UK Energy Research Centre, funded by the RCUK Energy Programme, carries out world-class research into sustainable future energy systems. It is the hub of UK energy research and the gateway between the UK and the international energy research communities. Our interdisciplinary, whole-systems research informs UK policy development and research strategy.
Follow us on Twitter @UKERKHQ
The UKERC Meeting Place, based in Oxford, is a key supporting function of UKERC that aims to bring together members of the UK energy community and overseas experts from different disciplines, to learn, identify problems, develop solutions and further the energy debate.
The Energy Policy Group at the University of Exeter provides an academic hub for the interdisciplinary study of energy policy, specialising in the transition from the current unsustainable energy systems to sustainable, secure and affordable ones. Research carried out by the group is interdisciplinary and collaborative, both within the University and with outside organisations. The group provides objective research, analysis and policy advice to policy makers, industry, NGOs, and the public. The research work of the group is funded by grants from UK research councils and also through consultancy with national and international stakeholders.