Energy policy

Innovation in renewable energy technology, identification of barriers to growth and understanding how those barriers might be overcome is central to our research and teaching.

We actively pursue policy research across many areas, taking advantage of our links with the University of Exeter's Energy Policy Group as well as our position within the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences to develop interdisciplinary work.

We have supported departmental research in wave energy with policy work in wave energy, with a particular focus on the innovation of new, more economically viable technology and the steps that will be necessary for the UK, and particularly the South West region to develop industrial capacity in marine renewable energy. To this end we have partnered with other institutions in the South West and beyond, including Cornwall Council, Cornwall Development Council, A&P Falmouth and Cornwall Marine Network.

Our policy research is diverse in nature and we are keen to leverage our focus on policy to partner with other institutions and companies with expert knowledge in different fields in order to produce mutually rewarding and socially relevant research.

Academic staff

Dr Peter Connor Research lead
Dr Oscar Fitch-Roy PDRF
Dr George Matthew  PDRA
Lesley Robinson Project Administrator

PhD students

Tony Granville  Renewable Energy
Atta Ajayebi Renewable Energy
Richard Lowes  Geography
Rachel Bray Geography
Sam Collier University of Bristol

Research projects

The policy element of this multidisciplinary project includes:

  • analysis of good practice in supporting marine renewable energy technologies in the UK and France, with a view to encouraging cross border learning;
  • the identification of stakeholder needs and engagement with stakeholders, with the goal of opening up opportunities for a wider section of industry in Cornwall and the South West, and in Brittany to access these growing markets.

Partners include Cornwall Council, Plymouth University, Cornwall Marine Network in the UK and Ifremer, Technopôle and others in Brittany and Cornwall. The project is funded by the INTERREG IVA EU funding stream.

MERiFIC website

This interdisciplinary project involves work with a wide range of key stakeholders to develop scenarios for the possible development of smart grids. Smart grids will be able to intelligently respond to the behaviour and actions of all electrical power users. They offer clear potential to contribute to the UK’s policy goals of a transition to a low-carbon economy by transforming the way the UK produces, delivers and consumes energy, as well as keeping the UK at the forefront of research into energy networks and services.

Project partners are the University of Westminster, Cardiff University, Brunel University and the University of Nottingham. The project is funded by the UK Energy Research Centre.

Smart Grid Scenarios website

Tony Granville is completing work relating to the failure of CHP and district heating to achieve its full potential in the UK. He considers the financial, policy and regulatory barriers to greater penetration of the technologies and the design of effective solutions to overcoming them.

Atta Ajayebi’s research focusses on environmental evaluation of renewable energies, particularly techno-economic and social impacts of large-scale production of bioenergy. The methodology generally involves developing a spatially and temporally explicit Life-Cycle Analysis (LCA) model.

Primarily located in Geography, Richard Lowes is researching heat and its associated governance. Heat in general is an area which has often been overlooked by both policy-makers and researchers but is a major part of the energy system: in the UK around half the energy we use as a country is for heat.

Richard situates his research in the wide field of policy analysis but also considers a wider approaches to the transformation of large socio-technical systems (transitions theory).