Dr Matthew Hannon


Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship

Personal statement

Matthew works as a Professor of Sustainable Energy Business and Policy at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, Strathclyde Business School. His research examines the business models, policies and technologies necessary to accelerate the transition to a socially equitable, net-zero economy. He is a co-investigator on UKRI’s £10m EnergyREV consortium on smart, locally led energy systems, and the UK Energy Research Centre’s ‘Whole Person - Whole Place’ net-zero neighbourhood solutions project.

Matthew has published in ‘Financial Times 50’ ranked journals and co-authored two books on innovation to accelerate the energy revolution. He has written reports on behalf of the World Energy Council and been cited in government and parliamentary reports. His work has enjoyed extensive media coverage (e.g. BBC, Forbes) and he has also provided commentary for national media outlets like the i newspaper and The Conversation.

He sits on Scottish Power Energy Networks’ Customer Engagement Group to inform their five year business plan for Ofgem’s RIIO-ED2, as well as USwitch’s Green Tariff Accreditation Panel. He is a council member of the British Institute of Energy Economics, chair and trustee of the community energy charity South Seeds and an Honorary Member of the Green Angel Syndicate. Finally, he is co-founder and host of the Local Zero podcast, which champions local action to tackle climate change and profiled as the Times Pod of the Week.

Prior to joining Strathclyde he worked at Imperial College’s Centre for Environmental Policy (2012-2016) examining the effectiveness of energy innovation policies both in the UK and overseas (e.g. China, Finland). He completed his PhD at the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) at the University of Leeds (2009-2012), examining the role that business model innovation plays in driving a low-carbon energy transition.


  • Principle investigator of the Scottish Universities Insight Institute funded project - Carbon Offsetting and Communities: co-developing alternative place-based voluntary offsets in Scotland
  • Principle investigator on an EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account project, titled Community energy at a crossroads: Co-developing a path forward for South Seeds and the UK community energy sector.
  • Principle investigator on an Energy-REV flex-fund project titled Smart local energy systems for a ‘just transition’
  • Co-Investigator on a UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) funded project titled ‘Whole Person - Whole Place’ energy solutions for net-zero neighbourhoods, which explores how social relations impact energy retrofitting decisions.
  • Co-Investigator for the UKRI £8m Energy Revolution Research Consortium to support a smart, locally led energy system. Co-I for work packages on: (1) business and finance; and (2) policy and regulation (commenced Dec 2018).
  • Co-Investigator on UK Energy Research Centre funded Community Energy Finance project (2017-2019). Lead on community energy case studies work package.
  • Co-Investigator on Political hyping of new energy technologies project to explore how parliamentary processes fuel or deflate expectations surrounging low-carbon technology innovations. We focus in particular on tipping-points between political support or opposition to new technologies.

PhD supervision:

  • Josh Oxby - Jobs, innovation and the net-zero energy transition: employment opportunities for Scotland and their equitable distribution
  • Finlay Kerr - Low-carbon heat for low-income communities: Locally owned business models to capture mine water geothermal heat for Scotland’s ex-mining communities (ETP Industrial Doctorate, co-funded by Scottish Enterprise).
  • Horacio Gonzalez - The role of intermediaries in supporting absorption and desorption of novel energy innovations.
  • Rui Hu - The Chinese innovation system for wind energy: structure, functions and performance (completed 2017).

Selected publications:


Under One Roof : The Social Relations and Relational Work of Energy Retrofit in Multi-owned Properties
Cairns Iain, Hannon Matthew, Davis Mark, Middlemiss Lucie, Owen Anne, Bookbinder Ruth, Mininni Giulia, Brown Donal, Brisbois Marie Claire
Carbon Offsetting and Communities : Can Nature-Based Voluntary Carbon Offsetting Benefit Scottish Communities?
Hannon M J, Cairns I, Combe M, Cooper E, Davidson M, Kerr Finlay, McDonnell A, Phillips P, Potts T, Reay D, Roberts J, Wharmby Clare
Business models for smart local energy systems-a triple layered perspective
Pappas Dimitrios, Braunholtz-Speight Timothy, Hannon Matthew, Webb Janette, Fuentes González Fabián, Sharmina Maria
Frontiers in Sustainable Energy Policy Vol 1 (2023)
Financing grassroots innovation diffusion pathways : the case of UK community energy
Cairns Iain, Hannon Matthew, Braunholtz-Speight Tim, McLachlan Carly, Mander Sarah, Hardy Jeff, Sharmina Maria, Manderson Ed
Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions Vol 46 (2022)
Fast breeder reactor technology and the entrepreneurial state in the UK
MacKenzie Niall, Knox Stephen, Hannon Matthew
Business History Vol 64, pp. 1494-1509 (2022)
Electric Insights - Quarterly : January to June 2022
Staffell Iain, Green Richard, Green Tim, Jansen Malte, Gross Rob, Hannon Matt

More publications

Professional activities

USwitch (External organisation)
IPCC (External organisation)
Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) (External organisation)
Co-host and creator of the Local Zero podcast
Green Angel Syndicate
Visiting researcher
Oral evidence to Scottish Government's Just Transition Commission

More professional activities


Carbon Offsetting and Communities: co-developing alternative place-based voluntary offsets in Scotland (£19,860)
Hannon, Matthew (Principal Investigator) Combe, Malcolm (Co-investigator) Roberts, Jen (Co-investigator) Davidson, Magnus (Co-investigator) Anderson, Roxanne (Co-investigator) Haggett, Claire (Co-investigator)
Voluntary carbon markets (VCMs) offer a means of offsetting carbon emissions, by funding projects that deliver equivalent carbon emissions reductions elsewhere. These are commonly natural capital “removal” offsets that sequester carbon, such as afforestation or peatland restoration project.

The sector is growing very quickly and the recent adoption of Article 6 at COP26 delivered a rulebook for carbon offsetting, which is likely to further accelerate this marketplace. Scotland has already seen major natural capital investments led by institutional investors, corporations and charitable trust, who are often referred to – albeit controversially - as “Green Lairds”. High profile examples include investments from BrewDog, Shell and Aviva. Despite its growing popularity, it is unclear whether VCM projects have provided Scottish communities with much direct benefit or control.

To address this, this Scottish Universities Insight Institute funded project will deliver a series of events between researchers and practitioners that explore how VCMs are impacting Scottish communities and how they could be re-designed to maximize place-based, community benefits. The project will improve our understanding of the:

1. Distribution, scale and nature of current natural capital VCMs in Scotland;
2. Impact natural capital VCMs are having on communities;
3. Alternative VCM designs to deliver place-based community benefit and social justice;
4. Routes to co-develop and implement new VCMs in partnership with communities; and
5. Policy, legal and market conditions necessary for their adoption.

The project aims to initiate an informed, evidence-based national discussion about how best to design and implement carbon offsets, in a way that supports a net-zero, Just Transition.
01-Jan-2022 - 01-Jan-2023
Impact Acceleration Account: Community energy at a crossroads: Co-developing a path forward for South Seeds and the UK community energy sector. (£12,564)
Hannon, Matthew (Principal Investigator)
30-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2022
`Whole Person - Whole Place? energy solutions for net-zero neighbourhoods (UKERC Flexi Fund)
Hannon, Matthew (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2023
Smart local energy systems for a ‘just transition’ (EnergyRev Flex Fund - £29,000)
Hannon, Matthew (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2021
Local Zero podcast (EnergyREV Flex Fund - £24,000)
Hannon, Matthew (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 01-Jan-2022
Low-carbon heat for low-income communities: Locally owned business models to capture minewater geothermal heat for Scotland's ex-mining communities (ETP Energy Industry Doctorate Programme 2019)
Hannon, Matthew (Principal Investigator)
19-Jan-2020 - 18-Jan-2023

More projects


Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship
Stenhouse Wing

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