Research Excellence Framework Shaping net zero policy

How the Centre for Energy Policy research shaped UK & Scottish government net zero policy

The University of Strathclyde's Centre for Energy Policy (CEP) has shaped UK and Scottish government policy development to support low carbon transition to mid-century net zero carbon targets.

Since 2014, CEP has sought to address one of the UK’s most pressing public policy challenges to reduce climate change impacts while ensuring sustained prosperity as households, industry and the wider economy transition to net zero carbon ambitions.

Research has examined the wider economic consequences of energy and climate policy actions in different sectors and how understanding and communication of these consequences - and the potential effects of alternative courses of action - can help policy stakeholders frame and build consensus for different strategies and interventions.

It has achieved this through direct engagement with public policy stakeholders at Scottish, UK and international levels, research on understanding, quantifying and building consensus around the wider economic impacts of different industry, household and policy actions.

CEP’s research has been used by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to support a 2018 policy strategy on carbon capture, usage and storage for industrial decarbonisation.

It also informed the UK Chancellor’s July 2020 decision to allocate public spending to support residential energy efficiency.

Aerial view on winding road through a green pine forest.

Energy Efficient Scotland Route Map

In 2018, the Scottish Government published the Energy Efficient Scotland Route Map (EESR), which sets out the journey our homes, businesses and public buildings will take to become more energy efficient.

Through direct engagement with the Scottish Government’s Better Homes Division, enabled by an Engineering and PSRC Impact Acceleration partnership, CEP’s research on the impact of residential energy efficiency gains across the wider economy led to a change in the framing of decisions on energy efficiency policy to emphasise the importance of enabling wider economy gains.

The roadmap cites CEP’s research and the (then) Head of Area Based Schemes within the Better Homes Division, said ‘key insights’ had been gained from the work regarding the nature of economic expansion processes

A range of analytical and modelling tools

Led by Professor Karen Turner, an applied political economist working in the interdisciplinary field of energy-related policy, CEP has developed a range of analytical and modelling tools, with technical input from engineers at Strathclyde, St Andrews and University College London.

The modelling, which will investigate the economy-wide impacts of specific energy and climate policy actions, have been applied to priority issues including UK and Scottish residential energy efficiency programmes, electricity network investments to support the projected UK Electric Vehicle (EV) rollout, and support of carbon capture activity in emissions-intensive regional industry clusters.

CEP’s research and expertise has directly informed industry responses to the decarbonisation challenge. One example is insights on the wider economy impacts of facilitating the rollout of electric vehicles, which have enabled industry actors, such as the electricity network operator SP Energy Networks, which supplies 3.5 million homes and businesses in Scotland, England and Wales, to align their regulated business plans with policy commitments to achieve net zero.

Centre for Energy Policy's research and expertise has directly informed industry responses to the decarbonisation challenge.