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Future Energy System Pathways (UKERC)

Turbines and fishing boat. Image courtesy of

Completed project

Project start: January 2009  |  Project end: April 2020
Funder: UKERC - UK Energy Research Centre
Principal Investigator: Professor Melanie Austen
Other participants from PML: Dr Eleni Papathanasopoulou, Dr Lee de Mora, Dr Nicola Beaumont, Dr Pierre Cazenave, Dr Tara Hooper, Jerry Blackford

The latest, third phase of funding from UKERC is analysing the implications of possible UK energy futures. It is examining these transitions in the context of uncertain global trends, and is exploring synergies and trade-offs between the key drivers for this transition.

Most notably, the research is analysing pathways that meet current UK policy targets for reducing emissions, and is comparing them to others in which other energy system drivers overwhelm low carbon policies, or the future direction of policy changes dramatically.

This programme is designed to integrate insights from across the UKERC research programme, and to promote interdisciplinary working. Rather than developing a single comprehensive set of UKERC energy scenarios, the main aim of the programme is to explore specific questions or issues through a set of related scenario projects. Early priorities for the programme include analysing the implications of different UK energy futures for energy security; and exploring the impact of these futures on natural capital and ecosystem services. 

The previous phase was the Energy & Environment theme, which was led by PML and studied the impact that energy production and greenhouse gas mitigation technologies have upon the environment, as well as the UK's carbon footprint.