Low-carbon innovations for managing the supply and use of energy in homes are likely to remain stuck in early-adopting market segments.

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In a recent review we find that innovations that build on home solar PV generation (e.g., electricity generation and storage, peer to peer electricity trading, vehicle to grid systems) fail to adequately challenge the incumbent model of passively using energy in the home. Their appeal is limited to a reduced set of core and non-core attributes which offer added value […]

Electric vehicles – government targets company fleets

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Hazel Pettifor a senior researcher with the SILCI team reflects on a new government incentive aimed at boosting electric vehicle adoption within company fleets.  From 2020 employees who opt for an EV through their company car scheme pay no benefit in kind (BIK) tax in 2020/21 and a reduced rate for two years following. The company car market remains a primary driver of new registrations for cars accounting for 8-9% of new vehicle registrations in 2018 (Department […]

Distributed & Digitalised Demand – The 3Ds of Clean Energy Transitions

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Charlie Wilson participated in an online conference hosted by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) as part of the Clean Energy Ministerial process launched alongside the Paris Climate Agreement. Due to take place in Berlin from March 25-27, the ‘International Forum on Long-Term Energy Scenarios’ was hastily converted to a virtual format – one of many […]

Are low-carbon innovations appealing?  A typology of functional, symbolic, private and public attributes

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A new paper published in Energy Research and Social Science by the SILCI team concludes low carbon innovations across four key consumer domains offer unique sources of added value over and above incumbent technologies. The paper draws on empirical research conducted by the team in Norwich.  Sixty seven people participated in a series of structured elicitation exercises, discussing and quantifying the […]

Social barriers to the adoption of smart home technologies

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Post written by Emilie Vrain A recent UK study by the SILCI team investigated the role of social networks and communication behaviours in the diffusion process of smart home technologies. An online survey with over 700 participants (adopters and non-adopters of smart heating, lighting and appliances) revealed potential social barriers to mass market adoption (shown in the image above). Results highlight the need to focus strategies on increasing non-adopters’ exposure to […]

Airline’s ticket to a fossil-free future?

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Post written by Emilie Vrain Image Attribution: Harbour Air seaplane image by Pixabay reproduced under the license Creative Comms CC0. When Canadian airline ‘Harbour Air’ became the first 100% carbon neutral airline in 2007 through carbon offset payments, they didn’t want to stop there. A new partnership with MagniX who create electric motors has led to the development of what will be the […]

What happens when you meet your hero?

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Amory Lovins has been arguing the case for efficiency-led system transformation for over 40 years. His landmark paper back in 1976 challenged the orthodoxy of ever-rising energy demand, and is summarised in Wikipedia thus: “Amory Lovins coined the term ‘soft energy path’ to describe an alternative future where energy efficiency and appropriate renewable energy sources steadily replace […]

How can diverse social sciences contribute to demand-side transformation?

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Charlie Wilson travelled to Potsdam outside sunny Berlin for a symposium on how to achieve the 1.5°C climate target. The symposium brought together IPCC lead authors, scenario modelling experts, and policy stakeholders to identify integral elements of 1.5°C decarbonisation pathways and how climate policy ‘entry points’ can drive transformative change. Together with Felix Creutzig at […]