Developing a sustainable energy vision for the Environment Agency

Archard, Daniel (2001) Developing a sustainable energy vision for the Environment Agency. DProf thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

This project has aimed to take forward the Environment Agency's contribution to
sustainable energy, and to develop the Agency's capacity to undertake a leadership
role in sustainable energy. It has consisted of two main elements; firstly, researching
and writing an holistic and robust vision of sustainable energy for the UK, and
secondly, stimulating and provoking the organisation to consider the need for an
Agency energy policy and the content of that sustainable energy policy. Both aspects
of this project have represented substantial challenges, and taken as a whole the
project has been quite ambitious - that of drafting a sustainable energy policy and
then encouraging the Agency to officially adopt it.
The project has been embedded within a substantial process of change and
redirection within the organisation. My work has contributed to the Sustainable
Development Unit's general programme of work, and a key component of the
project has involved encouraging the Agency to embrace a high profile and,
potentially risky; new approach to sustainable development. My project has
promoted the message that the Environment Agency needs to engage in the politics
of sustainable development if it wishes to be more influential in shaping key
sustainability issues, such as energy, and that developing policy positions on
sustainability issues is the first step in that process. Over the last year of my project,
the Sustainable Development Unit has undertaken a specific policy advocacy
initiative to encourage the organisation to adopt advocacy as a sustainable
development tool, and to develop the organisation's capacity to develop and
disseminate advocacy messages. Prior to this initiative, one way in which my work
promoted this agenda was through producing internal discussion papers to advocate
approaches and stimulate thinking. These discussion papers have been vital products
of my research work, and the main ones are appended to this paper. There have been
significant positive developments during the course of my work, and my project has
played a role in contributing to this. The Agency is in the process of considering the
energy vision I drafted and is putting the structures in place to develop energy
positions. The organisation is now on the verge of adopting an energy vision and a
set of robust policy advocacy positions on sustainable energy.
In my role as sustainable energy researcher I have sought to develop a robust
understanding of sustainable energy, and paint a picture of a sustainable energy
system. The Agency has needed to develop a shared understanding because there are
many divergent views on the meaning of sustainable energy, and the best policies for
the future. A particularly divisive issue is that of whether nuclear power is necessary
for the delivery of a climate-friendly energy system. This issue was particularly
stalling the internal sustainable energy debate, and therefore the development of an
Agency sustainable energy position, and it was a key investigation within my energy
research. Assessing the ability of renewable energy and improved energy
productivity to meet our energy service needs, and to deliver the required reductions
in carbon dioxide emissions for addressing climate change, has been a central project
objective. This research has taught me a great deal and it has inspired me about the
positive prospects for the future. The main products of this research have been the
development of a Sustainable Energy Vision for the Environment Agency and an
Environment Agency Renewable Energy Position Statement (which are appended to
this paper). I believe that the sustainable energy vision has made a valuable
contribution to the sustainable energy debate within the Agency, and within the UK
energy policy community as a whole. Much of the argument and analytical material
which underpins my understanding of sustainable energy is presented in the vision
document (indeed, the energy vision is effectively a direct communication of my
understanding of what constitutes sustainable energy, and the research I have based
this upon) and therefore, to avoid repetition, I refer to this underpinning research
only briefly in the following text.
This first chapter provides a brief introduction to the aims and context of this project.
The second chapter then examines the role of the Environment Agency in delivering
sustainable development and sustainable energy, and examines ways in which it may
improve its contribution. It also introduces the arguments for why I undertook the
project and the key messages that I have conveyed as a component of the project
work. The third chapter outlines the complexities of the sustainable energy debate,
the challenge involved in developing a position, and coming to an opinion on,
sustainable energy and the approach I decided to adopt. The fourth chapter
introduces my position and role within the organisation in the context of this project.
The fifth chapter outlines the literature review that I undertook for the project work,
and the sixth my methodological approach. The seventh chapter presents my project
activity in seeking to deliver my project objectives and influence Agency opinion,
and it documents my developing understanding of sustainable energy. The eighth
attempts to evaluate the impact of my project work and my success in delivering my
original objectives. Finally, the appendices include some of the main products of the
project. This includes the key output, which is a Sustainable Energy Vision for the
Environment Agency, a Renewable Energy Policy Position for the Agency, an
internal discussion paper on the need for an Agency energy position, and an internal
discussion paper which looks at the key issues involved in an analysis of sustainable
energy.

Item Type: Thesis (DProf)
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
A. > School of Science and Technology > Natural Sciences
B. > Theses
Item ID: 9766
Depositing User: Users 3197 not found.
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2013 12:19
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 08:57
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/9766

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