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University College London
University College London:
Dr Brunilde Verrier
To inject political economy into the traditional techno-economic focus of energy systems, we explore opposing flows around finance, assets, strategic innovations, political influence and social movements.
A critical issue in any industrial decarbonisation is the transition from “sunset” industries to “sunrise” industries.
The former are high carbon; but have (very) large flows of finance, need to manage sunk assets, underpin regional employment, shape the existing skills base, and have significant political clout.
The latter are low or zero carbon; but are under-resourced in investment, need to diffuse new technologies, don’t yet employ significant numbers of workers, have different skills needs, and are not well organised to engage with politics, unions and civil society.
Resolving this fundamental tension is a recurring theme in UK energy and industrial policy, as governments seek to balance key objectives including decarbonisation and associated environmental goals, economic growth, employment (especially in key regions), and equitable societal impacts. Similarly, this is a key issue for firms, as they seek stable income streams and use in an uncertain world, balanced with the need to be innovative and risk taking in developing the products and infrastructures of the future.
As such it plays a core role in IDRIC’s Social, Economic & Policy Aspects theme, and particularly in the sub-theme on smart policies and governance.