Transition pathways to sustainable energy infrastructure : the UK experience

Hussaini, M 2015, Transition pathways to sustainable energy infrastructure : the UK experience , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Environmental problems such as climate change resulting from greenhouse gas emissions present alarming challenge to carbon intensive energy systems. In response, the European Union at the regional level and the United Kingdom at the national level responded to this development by formulating and implementing proactive low carbon transition policies over the past few decades. Using recent transition theories, this thesis provides explorative analysis of low carbon transition pathways that have taken place and that are likely to take place, in the UK road transport and electricity generation sectors. Using reliable data and information, this research applied the concepts of transition pathway theory (the multi-level and multi-phase perspectives) in the context of energy system (as a socio-technical system) to analyse low carbon energy transition prospects in the two case study sectors. Findings indicate that transition in the road transport sector is currently at the take-off phase of transformation pathway to biofuel blends, hybrid electric vehicles, as well as niche technologies such as battery electric vehicles. For the emergence of an ideal low carbon road system in the UK, it is shown that the transformation pathway is insufficient and the likely pathway sequence to full decarbonisation will be transformation-substitution-de-alignment/re-alignment. On the other hand, the fossil fuel electricity generation sector is currently at the take-off phase of substitution pathway to renewable electricity. For the emergence of a single power generation technology, the result shows that the most likely scenario is the de-alignment/re-alignment pathway. Under this pathway, the power industry will be characterised by loosely coupled grid islands located close to consumers, necessitating bidirectional flows of electricity to balance demand and supply. At the national level, the transition assessment indicates that the overall carbon performance of the UK energy system is successful and is in agreement with the targets set in the Kyoto Protocol.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Themes: Built and Human Environment
Schools: Schools > School of Computing, Science and Engineering > Salford Innovation Research Centre
Funders: Petroleum Technology Development Fund
Depositing User: M Hussaini
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2015 16:36
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 23:22

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