springs
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Energy saving innovations and economy wide rebound effects

This project investigates the impact of energy efficiency improvements throughout the UK economy and along international supply chains, as well as using sophisticated multi-sector macroeconomic models to capture a much wider range of economic effects. This new project on economy-wide rebound effects significantly extends CIED’s work and is led by the Centre for Energy Policy at the University of Strathclyde.

Energy productivity theme icon
Start date: 1 January, 2015 - End date: 1 March, 2017

Economy Wide Rebound Effects - research program keyCEP logo

Improved energy efficiency is generally recognised as the most important and cost-effective route to addressing the energy trilemma.  The IEA estimate that energy efficiency gains could contribute approximately 70% of global emission reductions in the period to 2020, and ~50% in the period to 2035. EU member states have agreed legally binding targets to improve energy efficiency and the UK has developed a wide-ranging energy efficiency strategy that includes policies for all sectors of the economy.
But economies are complex and dynamic systems and energy efficiency improvements frequently fail to deliver the anticipated energy and emission savings. This is largely due to a variety of mechanisms known as ‘rebound effects’ which can reduce the energy and emission savings achieved. In some cases, rebound effects may even lead to an overall increase in energy consumption. Unless such effects are better understood and addressed, the UK and other countries may fail to meet their energy and emission targets.
The Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED) is investigating the source, nature and magnitude of rebound effects in a number of UK sectors. Led by the Centre for Energy Policy at the University of Strathclyde, this new project on economy wide rebound effects significantly extends CIED’s work. The project investigates the impact of energy efficiency improvements throughout the UK economy and along international supply chains, as well as using sophisticated multi-sector macroeconomic models to capture a much wider range of economic effects.

Increasing energy efficiency, improving household incomes and boosting the economy

Cover of Karen Turner et al. policy brief

A recent announcement by the Scottish Government of a £20m spend on energy efficiency investment, as part of a post-Brexit stimulus package, reflects some key arguments we have been making in our research. Our economy-wide modelling has shown that there are multiple socio-economic benefits that result from increased energy efficiency, not limited to construction and related supply chain jobs to actually make homes more energy efficient. This is due to the lasting impacts of increased real incomes and household spending when savings on energy bills are realised. We have produced a blog and a new policy briefing on the issue.

Seven questions about fracking in Scotland

Other recent developments in the Scottish energy policy landscape have shown how our research on the energy requirements of the supply Karen Turner on BBC Scotlandchains of a range of goods and services we consume every day must be considered in a range of contexts. For example, Karen Turner has been discussing on the ‘Scotland 2016’ BBC news show, and in a blog post with Professor Zoe Shipton at the University of Strathclyde, how gas use in petrochemical production is key in the shale gas/fracking debate. This has been particularly relevant in shaping the debate over the implications of shipments of shale gas fracked in the US and arriving in Scotland, from late September, for use in the petrochemical industry at Grangemouth in the east central belt.

Proposal of a new Energy Demand Trilemma from the Centre for Energy Policy at the University of Strathclyde and Dunelm Energy.

HofCLaunchThe well known Energy Trilemma has provided a useful framework for considering the three main broad objectives of energy policy, and the trade-offs

involved in trying to address them all. It is however inherently supply-side oriented, mainly focusing on what the energy industry needs to do. We propose a new focus on the individual needs and choices that form the demand side of the energy problem through a new Energy Demand Trilemma. The Energy Demand Trilemma was formally launched at two special events at the University of Strathclyde on Monday 7 March 2016 and the House of Commons on Tuesday 8 March 2016.

For more information on our proposal for an Energy Demand Trilemma, please download our briefing document.

Event report: Demand-Side Energy Trilemma  launched at House of Commons and University of Strathclyde.

For more information on the project please contact Professor Karen Turner at cep-ippi@strath.ac.uk

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Project Leader

Karen Turner

Project publications