Historically, attention to changing energy demand has focused on securing modest improvements to deliver cost effective savings. The ambitious goals for carbon emissions reduction in the Paris Agreement change that agenda.
The consensus of global and national energy models is that, in futures that are compliant with a safe climate, we will need an energy transition in which energy efficiency increases much more quickly. Moreover, change will be required in more than the efficiency of energy use. If, as expected, variable renewable energy resources play a leading role in the energy transition, there will be a premium on demand being more flexible. And for those energy services that are currently highly reliant on direct use of fossil fuels, notably transport and heating, a switch to carbon free fuels will also be needed. All this implies widespread adoption of different energy using technologies, with major implications for energy policy and for better engagement of energy users.
Nick Eyre is Professor of Energy and Climate Policy at the University of Oxford and Director of Energy Research for the University. Since April 2018, he has been Director of the major Research Councils’ investment, the UK Centre for Research on Energy Demand.
About the speaker: Nick was formerly the leader of the Lower Carbon Futures Programme of energy research in the Environmental Change Institute of the University of Oxford, and a Co-Director of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), leading its research theme on decision-making. Nick was a lead author of the ‘Buildings’ Chapter of the Mitigation Report of 5th Assessment of the IPCC, and is a review editor of the chapter on energy demand in the 6th Assessment beginning in 2018. He is a member of Ofgem’s Sustainable Development Advisory Group and a Fellow of the Energy Institute. Previously he worked at the Energy Saving Trust as Director of Strategy and was a co-author of the UK Government’s 2002 Review of Energy Policy, leading its work on energy efficiency and energy scenarios.
Nick was lead author of the research that underpinned the UK shadow price of carbon from 2002-2007.