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Title: Developing a sustainable energy vision for the Environment Agency
Author: Archard, Daniel
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 2371
Awarding Body: Middlesex University
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 2001
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Prof.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available