Energy Policy Group blog
Principal researchers
Related publications

Kuzemko C, Lockwood M, Mitchell C, Hoggett R. "Governing for sustainable energy system change: Politics, contexts and contingency" (2016), Energy Research & Social Science

Mitchell, Catherine. "Momentum is increasing towards a flexible electricity system based on renewables" (2016), Nature Energy

Influencing UK energy policy

Research at the University of Exeter has helped improve energy sustainability, security and affordability, through the work of the Energy Policy Group (EPG).

Energy policy is an important issue in the UK due to agendas to reduce CO2 emissions and meet climate change targets. Rising fossil fuel prices and domestic energy bills, affordability issues, and a national/EU need to ensure energy security also drive interest in energy policy.

Professor Catherine Mitchell, the Energy Policy Group’s lead academic, was lead author for two recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. Her work helped explain to decision-makers which policies they can use to mitigate climate change, such as the transformation to sustainable energy using renewable energy technologies. 

Both reports received international news coverage. They concluded renewables could supply almost 80 per cent of the world’s energy by the mid-twenty-first century if the right policies are used.

Professor Mitchell said: “The energy we use in our everyday lives contributes a great deal to greenhouse gas emissions – in the UK it contributes about 85 per cent of our CO2 emissions. This report makes it clear that renewable energy is a viable option, but only if it is supported by policies which encourage investment in the technologies needed.”

Creating a sustainable UK energy economy, and the mechanisms and processes necessary to do so, have been a major focus of the EPG’s research since its creation in 2007.

This has included work on future technology pathways and the effectiveness of UK Government policy with respect to energy sector design and regulation.

The energy we use in our everyday lives contributes a great deal to greenhouse gas emissions – in the UK it contributes about 85 per cent of our CO2 emissions. This report makes it clear that renewable energy is a viable option, but only if it is supported by policies which encourage investment in the technologies needed.

Professor Catherine Mitchell, lead academic of the Energy Policy Group

Great Britain has been undergoing Electricity Market Reform (EMR) since 2010, and the Energy Policy Group have been involved in debates about policy and governance reforms to enable this sustainable transition.

Professor Mitchell provided oral and written evidence to several Energy and Climate Change Select Committee reports about EMR and its attendant Energy Bills. She also gave evidence to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) for its own inquiry into EMR.

The Group’s research also informs and affects public debate: Professor Mitchell has written several articles for the Guardian. The group’s work has been featured on the BBC website, in numerous newspaper reports, such as the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mirror, as well as various radio features such as BBC Radio 4 and the World Service.