Departmental Research Projects
InCluESEV - Interdisciplinary Cluster on Energy Systems, Equity and Vulnerability
A research project of the Department of Geography.
This interdisciplinary research cluster has a core membership of 30 academics from across 13 disciplines including geography, sociology, engineering, design, earth sciences, politics, economics, planning, physics and anthropology. Academic involvement is focused at Durham, Lancaster and Birmingham Universities with others from Edinburgh, Reading, Brunel, Surrey, Manchester, Oxford, CEH, BGS, Newcastle and Macaulay Institute. This brings together leading expertise and research activity from across a diversity of energy, climate change and environment funding programmes, including EPSRC, ESRC, cross research council, EU and the private sector. Four non-academic members are each centrally involved with issues of energy and equity - National Energy Action, Eaga and Warm Zones are key actors in providing solutions that address fuel poverty in the UK, whilst the Building and Social Housing Foundation promotes sustainable housing for vulnerable communities in the UK and internationally.
Cluster Focus and Objectives
InCluESEV will focus on the uneven production and experience of energy vulnerabilities, and examine the likely consequences of emerging low carbon energy systems for the changing nature and distribution of equity across time and space. The specific objectives of the cluster are:
- to foster interdisciplinary dialogue and new collaborations on equity, vulnerability and low carbon energy systems
- to develop improved understanding and new thinking on how equity and justice factor within energy systems and within evolving patterns of access to energy resources and services
- to develop interconnections between, and enhancements of, existing energy and climate change research initiatives through a specific focus on equity, vulnerability and resilience
- develop the evidence base through the synthesis of existing knowledge and new evidence and insights
- to establish the science challenges in this domain, build capacity to address them and develop future funding proposals
- to engage stakeholders in research and to formulate and disseminate policy relevant outputs
Issues of equity are a fundamental but under-researched challenge in the energy domain. Integrating equity and justice into energy policy, governance and implementation is a necessary part of achieving a sustainable and socially progressive transition to a low carbon future. Equity, in terms both of access to affordable, safe and reliable energy and of the distribution of the risks and benefits of new technologies, varies over space and time, and between and within social groups. These differentiated landscapes of vulnerability and resilience are produced through complex interactions between technologies, infrastructures, policies, markets and practices which demand interdisciplinary, whole-systems, research.