The Energy Research Cluster brings together scholars from across all School of Planning and Geography (CPLAN) research groups who are concerned with policy and societal perspectives on energy, climate change, and low-carbon transitions. The group interrogates energy as a socio-technical, political and spatial system that interplays with the economy, politics and wellbeing of places and communities in complex ways and at different scales.
The research of CPLAN-ERC encompasses a large variety of themes, including, for example:
- community engagement in energy projects
- relationships between energy systems and social justice
- eco-cities, eco-developments and energy efficient housing
- the politics of low-carbon urban development
- decarbonising the transport sector
- the impact of devolution on the planning and delivery of renewable energy
- the role of space, scale and state in climate change politics
- fossil-fuel and nuclear-energy economies
- regional resilience and innovation studies
These broad interests converge on a shared concern with the role of space and place in energy and climate governance. Energy systems and energy transitions are not place-neutral but are rather understood as part of the contextualised landscape of institutional and socio-economic evolution. Transition to a low-carbon society adds a further degree of complexity to the energy/space nexus. CPLAN-ERC explores the relationships between spatial practices and the material and discursive circulation of energy and investigates the differentiated processes and impacts of energy transitions across cities, regions, social groups and industries.
Apart from contributing to academic debates in important ways, the research of CPLAN-ERC has a strong policy impact. It advocates a change in conventional technocratic approaches to the low-carbon and climate agendas to more holistic and nuanced perspectives, with a better understanding of the relationship between energy technologies and their social contexts. The research engages with the policy making of many key regional, national and international institutions.
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