UCL Energy Institute


Bringing political and societal factors into energy transition modelling – UCL Energy Seminar

04 February 2020, 5:30 pm–7:30 pm

Wind turbine models on a table in an office or classroom

Dr Rachel Freeman, Research Fellow in Energy Transitions, will give an overview of O-STET and the radical changes needed for the transition towards decarbonisation.

This event is free.

Event Information

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UCL Energy Institute


Room G01, Central House
14 Upper Woburn Place
United Kingdom


Looking at key trends in the past few decades of the UK energy system, we find that along with fossil fuel costs and energy technology innovation, political changes, societal responses to policy design, lifestyle changes, and non-energy trends have been highly influential. Although these aspects of energy transition are important to the success, or not, of achieving energy system reform, they are rarely included in energy planning models.

O-STET (Operationalising Socio-technical Energy Transitions) is a collaborative research initiative that aims to bring socio-technical energy transition ideas into real-world decision making on the UK’s energy transition towards net zero in 2050. 

Under the project theme, work at UCL has been exploring which factors have been important in the performance of energy policies for decarbonisation. 

This talk from Dr Rachel Freeman, hosted by Prof Neil Strachan, will present early results of O-STET. We will describe a multi-theoretical framework, theory on the role of political capital for different measure types, and a system dynamics simulation model that includes the importance of political and societal responses in energy transition modelling. There will be an opportunity to discuss the implications of early project findings for the UK’s challenging road ahead to net zero.

The seminar will consist of a 45 minute talk and a 15 minute Q&A, and will be followed by a drinks reception with wine and nibbles.

 An accessibility guide to Central House is available via AccessAble. If you have any access requirements please let us know by emailing bseer-communications@ucl.ac.uk.

About the speakers

Dr Rachel Freeman

Rachel Freeman is a Research Fellow at the Energy Institute, University College London. Her specialty is in applying systems thinking methods and systems modelling to improve understanding of complex issues related to sustainability and resilience. Dr Freeman has over 15 years of experience in consulting and academia on the subjects of energy demand management, energy programme evaluation, renewable energy planning, carbon footprinting, and energy resource planning. She has published papers and articles on waste prevention, energy demand response, passenger car decarbonisation, redistributed manufacturing, low-carbon cities, problem structuring methods, the rebound effect, and threats to complex engineered systems. Dr Freeman has an MSc in Renewable Energy and the Environment, and an Engineering doctorate in Systems. She is a member of the policy council of the UK Chapter of the System Dynamics society.

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