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Dr Richard Lowes

Dr Richard Lowes

Research Fellow and Lecturer

 Stella Turk Building Fellows Office

 

University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, TR10 9FE

Overview

Hi, I'm Richard Lowes. I'm a researcher and lecturer with a passion for sustainable energy and expertise in energy policy particularly around sustainable heating. Following an MSc in Energy Policy, I worked in the energy industry and was responsible for government relations and policy issues at a gas distribution company focusing on the future of heat. Since 2014 I have been based in the University of Exeter's, Energy Policy Group where I have been further developing expertise around clean heating - a hugely important but historically underlooked area of energy.

I try and make sure my research has a policy impact and as well as engaging with policy makers I have made a number of national and international media appearances. You can learn about the ups and downs of the sector on my @heatpolicyrich twitter account.

I also blog about these things at: https://heatpolicy.wordpress.com.

A particularly live issue is the debate over the role of electrification or hydrogen for heating, an issue where I have national expertise and have researched in detail

At the 2020 UK Citizens Assembly on Climate Change I was invited to advocate for the importance of heat electrification for net zero goals. A video of my presentation which summarises the heat problem is below.

I am currently an independent advisor to gas network owner SGN  and I am a non-executive member of the Scottish Government's heat decarbonisation programme board. I have given oral evidence to select committees and advised the National Audit Office as well as NGOs.

Qualifications

BSc (Hons) Geography and Environmental Management, University of Exeter, First Class

MSc Energy Policy and Sustainability, University of Exeter, Distinction

PhD in Energy Policy, University of Exeter. Thesis titled: Power and heat transformation policy: Actor influence on the development of the UK’s heat strategy and the GB Renewable Heat Incentive with a comparative Dutch case study.

Research group links

Research

Research interests

My research is based around the policy and political issues associated with how we move away from an unsustainable high carbon energy system to a clean low carbon energy system. My expertise and passion is around sustainable heat and buildings.

My time is currently split 50:50 between teaching and research. My current research is supported by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) where I am working on the heat theme (theme 6) on general UK heat policy issues and the infrastructure transitions theme (theme 4) where I am investigating the governance of infrastructure for net-zero. Bridget Woodman in the principal investigator on this work.

Broad research areas:

  • Energy policy,
  • heat strategy,
  • renewable heat support policies,
  • network regulatory models,
  • infrastructure transitions
  • political power

Research projects

Governance of continuity and change

Principle Investigator: Bridget Woodman

Funding Body: UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC)

This project forms part of UKERC's 4th phase and sits in the 'infrastructure' theme of UKERC. In the project we are investigating the existing governance of certain important elements of UK infrastructure and considering the appropriateness of this governance in light of goals for net-zero. Our case studies are offshore wind, buildings and networks. We expect to take a historic and discursive institutional approach. Completes 2022.

Energy Governance in Northern Ireland

Principle Investigator: Richard Lowes supported by Catherine Mitchell

Funding Body: Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland Executive

In this project I am investigating the unique structure of energy governance in Northern Ireland. My desk based analysis is being augmented with expert interviews in order to consider and how governance may need to change. We will also propose a new model of governance. Completes July 2020.

Previous

Policy maker perceptions of heat decarbonisation

Principle Investigator: Bridget Woodman

Funding Body: UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC)

This project investigated the perceptions of policy maker working on UK heat decarbonisation at a time of clear concerns over uncertainty of technology options linked in part to incumbent pressures. This work formed part of the larger UKERC Continuity and Disruptuon project. Completed May 2019.

Heat, Incumbency and Transformations

Principle Investigator: Bridget Woodman

Funding Body: UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC)

I was Research Fellow on this innovative project. The project considered a UK transformation to a 100% sustainable heat system but focussed on the role of incumbent companies. It mapped the current heat regime in the UK investigating who was present in the sector, considered how incumbents may be affected by the transition and then considered the socio-political impacts that these incumbents may have on a potential UK heat transformation. Findings from this project continue to be published. Completed June 2018

More information the project can be found here.

FutureGas 

Principle investigator: Poul Erik Morthorst, Technical Universityof Denmark (DTU)

Exeter lead: Profesor Catherine Mitchell

Funding body: Danish Innovation Fund

The FutureGas project was a major multi-disciplinary project investigating the future role of gas in Denmark. The project brought together engineers, mathematicians, social scientists and policy experts from across Europe. Our role in the project was to provide a comparative case study for Denmark, focussing on the UK, using our own expertise of the UK's energy system.

Research networks

I am:

A Member of the Energy Institute

A Member of the Sustainable Transitions Research Network

A Member of the UK Energy Research Centre

Publications

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Publications by category


Journal articles

Lowes R, Woodman B (2020). Disruptive and uncertain: Policy makers’ perceptions on UK heat decarbonisation. Energy Policy, 142, 111494-111494. Full text.
Lowes R, Woodman B, Speirs J (2020). Heating in Great Britain: an incumbent discourse coalition resists an electrifying future. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 37, 1-17. Full text.
Lowes R, Rosenow J, Qadrdan M, Wu J (2020). Hot stuff: Research and policy principles for heat decarbonisation through smart electrification. Energy Research & Social Science, 70, 101735-101735.
Lowes R, Woodman B, Fitch-Roy OWF (2019). Policy change, power and the development of Great Britain's Renewable Heat Incentive. Energy Policy, 131, 410-421. Abstract.  Full text.
Judson E, Fitch-Roy O, Pownall T, Bray R, Poulter H, Soutar I, Lowes R, Connor P, Britton J, Woodman B, et al (2019). The centre cannot (always) hold: examining pathways towards energy system de-centralisation. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 118 Abstract.  Full text.
Connor PM, Xie L, Lowes R, Britton J, Richardson T (2015). The development of renewable heating policy in the United Kingdom. Renewable Energy, 75(March 2015), 733-744. Full text.

Conferences

Lowes RJ (2016). Political power and the development of the GB renewable heat incentive. British Institute of Energy Economics. 21st - 22nd Sep 2016. Full text.

Reports

Rosenow J, Lowes R (2020). Heating without the hot air: Principles for smart heat electrification. https://www.raponline.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/rap-rosenow-lowes-principles-heat-decarbonisation-march-2020.pdf, Regulatory Assistance Project.
Lowes R, Ketsopoulou I, Taylor P, Watson J, Winskel M, Kattirtzi M, Woodman B, Poulter H, Brand C, Killip G, et al (2019). Disrupting the UK energy system: causes, impacts and policy implications. http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/asset/E28CB651-CD2B-4C72-B64CE13DD2840E51/.
Watson J, Wu J, Lowes R, Qadrdan M (2019). UKERC Review of Energy Policy 2019. http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/asset/42351E7F-81B5-4CDA-9984E9A942EAFD49.B9AE6F71-E1C4-40A5-B0310113060491A8/.
Lowes RJ, Woodman B (2018). Incumbency and the transformation towards low carbon heating in the UK – Implications for policy. Full text.
Watson J, Webb J, Lowes R (2018). UKERC Review of Energy Policy 2018. http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/asset/E8CBC653-4BD2-4BA1-99DB926D129BFF38.19BC1448-3312-402F-BAB3AE130BF89B58/.

Publications by year


2020

Lowes R, Woodman B (2020). Disruptive and uncertain: Policy makers’ perceptions on UK heat decarbonisation. Energy Policy, 142, 111494-111494. Full text.
Lowes R, Woodman B, Speirs J (2020). Heating in Great Britain: an incumbent discourse coalition resists an electrifying future. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 37, 1-17. Full text.
Rosenow J, Lowes R (2020). Heating without the hot air: Principles for smart heat electrification. https://www.raponline.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/rap-rosenow-lowes-principles-heat-decarbonisation-march-2020.pdf, Regulatory Assistance Project.
Lowes R, Rosenow J, Qadrdan M, Wu J (2020). Hot stuff: Research and policy principles for heat decarbonisation through smart electrification. Energy Research & Social Science, 70, 101735-101735.

2019

Lowes R, Ketsopoulou I, Taylor P, Watson J, Winskel M, Kattirtzi M, Woodman B, Poulter H, Brand C, Killip G, et al (2019). Disrupting the UK energy system: causes, impacts and policy implications. http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/asset/E28CB651-CD2B-4C72-B64CE13DD2840E51/.
Lowes R, Woodman B, Fitch-Roy OWF (2019). Policy change, power and the development of Great Britain's Renewable Heat Incentive. Energy Policy, 131, 410-421. Abstract.  Full text.
Lowes R (2019). Power and heat transformation policy: Actor influence on the development of the UK’s heat strategy and the GB Renewable Heat Incentive with a comparative Dutch case study.  Abstract.  Full text.
Judson E, Fitch-Roy O, Pownall T, Bray R, Poulter H, Soutar I, Lowes R, Connor P, Britton J, Woodman B, et al (2019). The centre cannot (always) hold: examining pathways towards energy system de-centralisation. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 118 Abstract.  Full text.
Watson J, Wu J, Lowes R, Qadrdan M (2019). UKERC Review of Energy Policy 2019. http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/asset/42351E7F-81B5-4CDA-9984E9A942EAFD49.B9AE6F71-E1C4-40A5-B0310113060491A8/.

2018

Lowes RJ, Woodman B (2018). A Transformation to Sustainable Heating in the UK: risks and opportunities for UK heat sector businesses.  Full text.
Lowes RJ, Woodman B (2018). Incumbency and the transformation towards low carbon heating in the UK – Implications for policy. Full text.
Lowes RJ, Woodman B (2018). Incumbency in the UK heat sector and implications for the transformation towards low-carbon heating.  Full text.
Watson J, Webb J, Lowes R (2018). UKERC Review of Energy Policy 2018. http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/asset/E8CBC653-4BD2-4BA1-99DB926D129BFF38.19BC1448-3312-402F-BAB3AE130BF89B58/.

2017

Lowes RL, Woodman B, Fitch-Roy O (2017). Defining incumbency: considering the UK heat sector.  Abstract.  Full text.

2016

Lowes R, Woodman B, Britton J (2016). EPG response to the DECC consultation: the Renewable Heat Incentive: a reformed and refocused scheme.
Lowes R, Woodman B, Britton J (2016). EPG response to the Energy and Climate Change Committee's 2020 renewable heat and transport targets inquiry.
Lowes RJ (2016). Political power and the development of the GB renewable heat incentive. British Institute of Energy Economics. 21st - 22nd Sep 2016. Full text.

2015

Connor PM, Xie L, Lowes R, Britton J, Richardson T (2015). The development of renewable heating policy in the United Kingdom. Renewable Energy, 75(March 2015), 733-744. Full text.

Richard_Lowes Details from cache as at 2020-09-27 22:34:04

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Teaching

I currently spend 50% of my time on teaching with the remainder on research. My teaching is around issues of human geography and energy transitions (not necessarily at the same time). I am module convenor for the first year core GEO1413, 'Geography of Cornwall' module. This module introduces students to key themes in geography such as place, scale, lansdcape, culture, history and territory. In the module, we use Cornwall as our live and local case study hoping that as well as introducing students to geographical themes, they also get a great introduction to where they will be living for the following three years. 

Please get in touch if you are looking for post-graduate supervision.

Modules

2020/21


Supervision / Group

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