Energy Policy Group


Heat, Incumbency and Transformations (HIT) is a 24-month UKERC funded project allocated through the highly competitive UKERC flexible fund. We will be investigating the potential impact of incumbency on the UK's potential transformation to a zero carbon heat system. In phase one we will be analysing the existing evidence on heat system futures and considering the changing roles of current actors within the system. This mapping exercise will produce an innovative vision of the current heat system and give an idea how incumbent companies may be affected by the transition.

Phase 2 will be considering how these incumbents may support or challenge the transformation to sustainable heating. Using a combination of interviews with incumbent actors and others in the heat policy network alongside relevant policy literature and archives we will consider:

  • How incumbent actors may have already affected heat policy and regulation
  • How these efforts to affect policy and regulation may continue into the future
  • How incumbents may be managed and understood by policy makers in order to ensure that a transformation towards sustainable heat is appropriately governed

The Principal investigator is Bridget Woodman who has expertise in innovation and regulation and Richard Lowes, who has expertise in the field of heat policy and regulation is research fellow. The project is running for two years and has a number of high impact policy outputs including working papers, journal articles, workshops and vlogs (video blogs).

1 Feb 2017
Our workshop on the 18th January in central London heard from speakers including the Committee on Climate Change and BEIS. We had attendees from a wide variety of sectors who, during the break-out workshops, contributed to open discussions around the meaning of incumbency and its importance for a sustainable heat transformation. Speakers' slides are available here: Adrian Gault (Committee on Climate Change); Mike Foster (Energy and Utilities Alliance); Nick Sturgeon (Chemical Industries Association) and Richard Lowes (University of Exeter).

An Introduction to Heat, Incumbency and Transformations (HIT)