The transition to a low carbon future: Ex post evaluations of the economic impacts of energy technologies

In addition to the widely cited energy trilemma of emissions reduction, energy security and energy affordability, energy policy – and particularly in the transition to a low carbon economy - is increasingly being promoted for its potential economic development consequences.

There has been recent debate about whether the specification of economic models might overestimate the economic impacts of low carbon economy, and the net gains at a national level (Blyth et al, 2014). Simultaneously there has been increasing use of ex post statistical techniques to explore the scale and timing of economic impacts from energy developments (e.g. Brown et al, 2012; Munasib and Rickman, 2015, Paredes et al, 2015). This poses the central question to be answered in this research: using ex post techniques, what factors explain recent developments in low carbon energy in the UK, and what are the economic consequences at different spatial levels of recent low carbon energy developments?

This study thus plans to address the following research questions:

  • What are the factors which explain the spatial and technological pattern of recent low carbon developments in the UK?
  • Can the latest statistical techniques shed light on the economic consequences of low carbon technologies in the UK?
  • What are the economic consequences at different spatial scales of recent low carbon developments in the UK?
  • Number of scholarships 1
  • Value £14,296 (pa for 3 years)
  • Opens 14 March 2016
  • Deadline 17 April 2016
  • Help with Tuition fees, Living costs
  • Duration 36 months

Eligibility

Candidates are required to have:

  • An excellent undergraduate degree (with Honours, where appropriate) in economics or a relevant subject;
  • A Masters degree (or equivalent) will be strongly preferred;
  • Students may also have other experience or skills which they can demonstrate are relevant to this project;
  • All applications must be accompanied by a cover letter indicating the candidate's relevant skills and how they can contribute to this research, as well as a CV and qualification transcripts;
  • Students must be available to commence their academic studies in the UK by the start of the academic year in September/October 2016;
  • Two, preferably academic, references will be required.

Project Details

In addition to the widely cited energy trilemma of emissions reduction, energy security and energy affordability, energy policy – and particularly in the transition to a low carbon economy - is increasingly being promoted for its potential economic development consequences. This ties in with notions of sustainable development and relates to a significant literature from “green jobs” to “green skills” as economic opportunities arise from the move towards renewable and low carbon forms of energy provision.

Additionally, there is an increasing focus on the geographies over which such economic consequences could arise (and the scales of economic opportunities from the transition to low carbon futures at local, regional or national level), however there is little evidence on how the scale and type of low carbon developments impact upon such opportunities, and the impact of that new development on existing and future local energy needs at different spatial scales. Much analysis has used economic accounts and ex ante economic modelling techniques to understand the potential timing of economic impacts from technologies (Allan et al, 2014 and Gilmartin and Allan, 2014), community involvement in low carbon energy (Allan et al, 2011) and impacts at different spatial scales (McIntyre and Hermannsson, 2014), while ex post techniques have been used to understand the economic, geographic, political and social factors which could explain the uptake of low carbon technologies.

There has been recent debate about whether the specification of economic models might overestimate the economic impacts of low carbon economy, and the net gains at a national level (Blyth et al, 2014). Simultaneously there has been increasing use of ex post statistical techniques to explore the scale and timing of economic impacts from energy developments (e.g. Brown et al, 2012; Munasib and Rickman, 2015, Paredes et al, 2015). This poses the central question to be answered in this research: using ex post techniques, what factors explain recent developments in low carbon energy in the UK, and what are the economic consequences at different spatial levels of recent low carbon energy developments?

This study thus plans to address the following research questions:

  • What are the factors which explain the spatial and technological pattern of recent low carbon developments in the UK?
  • Can the latest statistical techniques shed light on the economic consequences of low carbon technologies in the UK?
  • What are the economic consequences at different spatial scales of recent low carbon developments in the UK?

The student will be joining a newly established energy research cluster in the Strathclyde Business School, as well as joining an informal community of PhD students working on energy topics from within Strathclyde Business School, as well as benefitting for engagement with current PhD student in the Centre for Energy Policy. Students in the energy cluster will have the opportunity to take part in opportunities for internal workshops, external and industry engagement, including through the MSc in Global Energy Management. In addition, students will attend the SBS suite of research methodology classes and complete a PG Certificate in Research Methodology for Business and Management in their 1st year.

Further Information

References

Allan, G.J., Lecca, P., McGregor, P. and Swales, J.K. (2014), “The economic impacts of marine energy developments: A case study from Scotland”, Marine Policy, Vol. 43, p. 122-131;

Allan, G.J., McGregor, P. and Swales, J.K. (2011), “The importance of revenue sharing for the local economic impact of a renewable energy project: A social accounting matrix approach”, Regional Studies, Vol. 45 (9), p. 1171-1186;

Blyth, W., Gross, R., Speirs, J., Sorrell, S., Nicholls, J., Dorgan, A and Hughes, N. (2014), “Low carbon jobs: the evidence for net job creation from policy support for energy efficiency and renewable energy”, A report by the UK Energy Research Centre Technology and Policy Assessment Function, November 2014, available online at http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/programmes/technology-and-policy-assessment/low-carbon-jobs.html;

Brown, J., Pender, J., Wise, R., Lantz, E. and Hoen, B. (2012), “Ex post analysis of economic impacts from wind power development in US counties”, Energy Economics, Vol. 34 (6), p. 1743-1754;

Gilmartin, M. and Allan, G.J. (2014), “Regional employment impacts of marine energy in the Scottish economy: A general equilibrium approach”, Regional Studies, Vol. 49(2), p. 337-355;

Hermannsson, K. and McIntyre, S. (2014), “Local consumption and territorial based accounting for Co2 emissions”, Ecological Economics, Vol. 104, p. 1-11;

Munasib, A., & Rickman, D. S. (2015), “Regional economic impacts of the shale gas and tight oil boom: A synthetic control analysis”, Regional Science and Urban Economics, Vol. 50, p. 1-17;

Paredes, D., Komarek, T. and Loveridge, S. (2015), “Income and employment effects of shale gas extraction windfalls: Evidence from the Marcellus region”, Energy Economics, Vol. 47, p. 112-120.