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Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Fellowship | Award Amount: 1.88M | Year: 2012

This work has two principal aims: a) to develop a roadmap that will help the Research Councils and others to plan their research activities in ways that will contribute to the achievement of the UKs energy policy goals; and b) to conduct a programme of research that will assess how effectively different countries conduct their energy research and development (R&D) activities in different technology areas with a view to learning lessons for the more successful execution of policy. The roadmap will consist of a top-level document which will act as a bridge between higher level energy strategies and more specific R&D plans for individual technologies. The aim is to improve the coherence of energy policy on the one hand and energy research activities on the other. The top-level document will be supplemented by web-based roadmaps for individual technology areas such as carbon capture and storage or different forms of renewable energy. Demand-side technologies, for example for transport and buildings, will also be covered. Given the interplay between technology and human behaviour, especially on the demand side, social scientists as well as scientists and engineers will be involved. The roadmaps will address both technological needs and needs for training and capacity-building. The roadmaps will be produced through interviews with policymakers and R&D funders and through a mixture of facilitated technical workshops and strategic workshops engaging a wider range of stakeholders. The first task in the research programme is to map out systems of innovation for different energy technologies in different countries. We intend to cover a small number of EU countries, the US and China. The mapping will cover institutions and their roles, networks and research capacity. The task will be carried out through documentary analysis and interviews in the relevant countries. We will also look at systems of innovation internationally, for example through education and training, and the activities of multinational companies. The second task will be to develop and analyse measures for the effectiveness of R&D activities in different systems of innovation. Many countries intend to achieve fundamental transitions in their energy systems, for example by moving to low-carbon technologies. We will draw on a new branch of innovation theory, transitions theory, to develop measures of effectiveness. Finally, we will review hypotheses and findings from the analysis of the effectiveness of R&D activities with experts and draw conclusions about how the success of energy R&D programmes and their contributions to energy policy can be improved.


Winskel M.,University of Edinburgh | Radcliffe J.,University of Birmingham | Skea J.,Imperial College London | Wang X.,Uk Energy Research Center
Energy Policy | Year: 2014

The UK energy technology innovation system (ETIS) has undergone wholesale remaking in recent years, in terms of its aims, funding and organisation. We analyse this process and distinguish between three phases since 2000: new beginnings, momentum building and urgency and review. Within an international trend to ETIS rebuilding, UK experience has been distinctive: from a low starting base in the early-2000s, to system remaking under a strong decarbonisation policy imperative in the late-2000s, to multiple and contested drivers in the early-2010s. Public funding levels have been erratic, with a rapid increase and a more recent decline. The private business sector has played a leading role in this remaking, and as this influence has grown, the role and style of energy innovation has shifted from long term niches to the shorter term mainstream. The UK ETIS suffers from persistent problems: fragmentation, low transparency and weak links to the research evidence base. © 2014 The Authors.


Li A.,Uk Energy Research Center | Davies R.J.,Northumbria University | Yang J.,China University of Petroleum - East China
Marine Geology | Year: 2016

Interpretation of a three-dimensional (3-D) seismic dataset from offshore of Mauritania reveals a shear zone at the base of a partially developed slope failure. The shear zone is at a depth of ~220m below the seabed, immediately above a hydrate bottom simulating reflector (BSR). We propose that a paleo-gas accumulation trapped below hydrate was the primer for what would have been a substantial submarine slope failure of ~220m thickness, covering ~50km2. This is based on the following observations: (a) the shear surface is, at the level of seismic resolution, coincident with some present gas accumulations located immediately below sediment that hosts hydrate; (b) there are remnants of a more extensive paleo gas accumulation that would have generated sufficient buoyancy pressure for the shear surface to be critically stressed and therefore primed the failure; (c) seismic pipes are a common seismic feature within the studied succession but absent in the area of the shear zone, which supports the hypothesis that a high gas column could have existed. This is a rare example of a shear zone that did not lead to the complete development of a slope failure. It provides the first seismic evidence that the buoyancy effect of gas below the hydrate rather than the hydrate dissociation is also a viable mechanism for large-scale slope failures. © 2016.


Steggals W.,SSE | Gross R.,Uk Energy Research Center | Heptonstall P.,Uk Energy Research Center
Energy Policy | Year: 2011

Wind power is widely expected to expand rapidly in Britain over the next decade. Large amounts of variable wind power on the system will increase market risks, with prices more volatile and load factors for conventional thermal plant lower and more uncertain. This extra market risk may discourage investment in generation capacity. Financial viability for thermal plant will be increasingly dependent on price spikes during periods of low wind. Increased price risk will also make investment in other forms of low-carbon generation (e.g. nuclear power) more challenging.A number of policies can reduce the extent to which generators are exposed to market risks and encourage investment. However, market risks play a fundamental role in shaping efficient investment and dispatch patterns in a liberalised market. Therefore, measures to improve price signals and market functioning (such as a stronger carbon price and developing more responsive demand) are desirable. However, the scale of the investment challenge and increased risk mean targeted measures to reduce (although not eliminate) risk exposure, such as capacity mechanisms and fixed price schemes, may have increasing merit. The challenge for policy is to strike the right balance between market and planned approaches. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Hardy J.,Uk Energy Research Center
Proceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers: Energy | Year: 2011

The Energy Generation and Supply Knowledge Transfer Network has developed a free online Energy Funding Landscape Navigator which takes users through the energy funding landscape, providing clear guidance on the key public bodies and support mechanisms for UK energy projects. Users can search a live list of energy research, development, demonstration and deployment opportunities and can get help in finding the right partners to build project teams. Developed by the UK Energy Research Centre, the Navigator addresses feedback from the research, development, demonstration and deployment community, which indicated that the myriad of schemes to access public support for energy innovation was confusing and that opportunities were being missed. The Navigator is particularly valuable to smaller technology companies who struggle to keep up to speed with the myriad of support mechanisms in the UK. The Navigator also fulfils an important role to keep up to date with the evolution of the energy innovation landscape as the UK low-carbon energy strategy develops. For example, the Navigator was a central point of information for the energy community for tracking developments after the 2010 comprehensive spending review.


Skea J.,Uk Energy Research Center | Chaudry M.,University of Cardiff | Wang X.,Uk Energy Research Center
Energy Policy | Year: 2012

This paper considers whether commercially driven investment in gas infrastructure is sufficient to provide security of gas supply or whether strategic investment encouraged by government is desirable. The paper focuses on the UK in the wider EU context. A modelling analysis of the impact of disruptions, lasting from days to months, at the UK's largest piece of gas infrastructure is at the heart of the paper. The disruptions are hypothesised to take place in the mid-2020s, after the current wave of commercial investments in storage and LNG import facilities has worked its way through. The paper also analyses the current role of gas in energy markets, reviews past disruptions to gas supplies, highlights current patterns of commercial investment in gas infrastructure in the UK and assesses the implications of recent EU legislation on security of gas supply. The paper concludes with an analysis of the desirability of strategic investment in gas infrastructure. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Skea J.,Uk Energy Research Center
Energy Policy | Year: 2010

There is renewed interest in the role of supply diversity in promoting energy security. This paper explores ways of valuing diversity. A possible incentive mechanism for promoting diversity which takes account of underlying "disparities" between different technology options is developed. The mechanism provides a way of trading off cost and diversity and results in an "efficient" cost-diversity frontier by analogy with financial portfolio theory. If all technologies are believed to be equally disparate, the appropriate mechanism is a "levy" imposed on market share. If the technologies are not equally disparate, the levy needs to be adjusted by technology-specific multipliers that take account of levels of disparity and patterns of market share. The analysis is applied to two stylised situations. In the long-run equilibrium case, the implications of both different patterns of disparity and different values attached to diversity are investigated. The paper also explores the implications of applying such a mechanism to the current Great Britain electricity system. The implications in terms of financial flows, for both the market as a whole and for individual operators, are investigated. Finally, the appropriateness of such a mechanism in the light of other policy goals, and possible future research directions, is discussed. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Ockwell D.,Uk Energy Research Center | Byrne R.,Uk Energy Research Center
Climate Policy | Year: 2015

The Technology Executive Committee (TEC) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recently convened a workshop seeking to understand how strengthening national systems of innovation (NSIs) might help to foster the transfer of climate technologies to developing countries. This article reviews insights from the literatures on Innovation Studies and Socio-Technical Transitions to demonstrate why this focus on fostering innovation systems has potential to be more transformative as an international policy mechanism for climate technology transfer than anything the UNFCCC has considered to date. Based on insights from empirical research, the article also articulates how the existing architecture of the UNFCCC Technology Mechanism could be usefully extended by supporting the establishment of CRIBs (climate relevant innovation-system builders) in developing countries – key institutions focused on nurturing the climate-relevant innovation systems and building technological capabilities that form the bedrock of transformative, climate-compatible technological change and development. Policy relevance This article makes a direct contribution to current work by the TEC of the UNFCCC on enhancing enabling environments for and addressing barriers to technology development and transfer (specifically, it will contribute to Activity 4.3 of the TEC's 2014–15 rolling workplan ‘Further work on enablers and barriers, taking into account the outcomes of the workshop on NSIs’). The article articulates both the conceptual basis that justifies a focus on NSIs in relation to climate technology transfer and makes concrete recommendations as to how this can be implemented under the Convention as a Party-driven extension to the existing architecture of the Technology Mechanism. © 2015 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis.


Martiskainen M.,Uk Energy Research Center
Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions | Year: 2016

This article focuses on the role of community leadership in the development of grassroots innovations. It asks: When community leaders initiate energy projects, what types of skills and knowledge practices do they utilise to nurture grassroots innovations? Grassroots innovations are usually driven by social and sustainability motives, and developed by civil society groups. Based on a mixed methods approach including research interviews and site visits, the article draws on previous literature on community leadership, grassroots innovations and niche literature. Community leadership is analysed via two in-depth community energy cases in the UK. Research findings show that community leadership can aid the development of grassroots innovations, which operate in niches and require nurturing. Community leadership benefits from being embedded into social networks, shared vision and decision making, but pre-existing skills and tacit knowledge also play a role. Community leaders can also assist niche building by working closely with intermediary actors. © 2016 The Author.


Chatzirodou A.,Uk Energy Research Center | Karunarathna H.,Uk Energy Research Center | Reeve D.E.,Uk Energy Research Center
Marine Geology | Year: 2016

In this paper we describe a numerical modelling study carried out to investigate the prevailing sediment dynamics of two large sandbanks located at a site designated for future development of tidal stream energy extraction, in the Inner Sound Channel of Pentland Firth, Scotland, UK. A calibrated and validated 3D Delft3D hydrodynamic model covering Pentland Firth channel was combined with a morphodynamic model. The sea bed changes occurring around the sandbanks during a period of two spring-neap tidal cycles are described and discussed in detail. It was found that both sandbanks, which are located in a deep shelf region (depths. >. 18. m), are morphodynamically active and their existence and integrity are strongly linked with the existing hydrodynamic regime. © 2016 The Authors.

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