The University of St Andrews’ Centre for Energy Ethics has recently received a £600,000 grant from the Scottish Funding Council, which will be used to promote research on energy and sustainability. The ultimate aim of this initiative is to ensure that there are net-zero greenhouse emissions in Scotland by 2045. The project will be supported by the two other Scottish Universities, University of Strathclyde and the University of Edinburgh.
The grant will specifically support the Scottish Research Alliance for Energy, Homes, and Livelihoods which is one of three new Alliances for Research Challenges (ARCS). These projects aim to collaborate across sectors and bring together different perspectives across the applied sciences, arts, and humanities. Officials hope to create collaborations that encourage action against climate change and foster a sustainable net-zero transition. . The groups involved will span across businesses, those who determine public policy, and scholars from disciplines ranging from the arts to engineering.
Dr Mette High, Director of the Centre for Energy Ethics at the University of St Andrews, is spearheading the project.
Dr High said, “This research alliance is really important because it embraces the fundamental complexity in achieving an inclusive energy transition by bringing together social, financial, and technical areas of expertise”.
The ARC will involve initiatives including large discussions, training opportunities, workshops, and town-hall meetings in order to ensure that various groups are able to share their input on the project. Monetary support from the Scottish Funding Council will make these events possible.
However, concerns remain about the journey towards a et zero society in Scotland. This initiative will include complex and expensive work in creating new policies, attitudes, and plans of action concerning climate change. Leaders of the project note that all members of Scotland must be involved in supporting this initiative if it is to succeed. It is not enough for selective Universities to be involved.
Professor Zoe Shipton, who is one of those leading the ARC at the University of Strathclyde, commented on this problem in an article published by the University of St Andrews.
Professor Shipton said, "Getting Scotland’s households to net zero is a complex problem. The variety of homeowners, variability of housing stock, differing family economic circumstances, lifestyles and needs, and differences in infrastructure between rural and urban areas, results in a wide variety of appropriate technical solutions for each householder and their property.”
Professor Shipton added, "This complexity demands that all academic disciplines come together to understand how to optimise solutions”.
Nonetheless, the recent support from the Scottish Funding Council has left those involved in the project optimistic about creating a Net Zero Scotland.
Dr High of the University of St Andrews added, “With high rates of fuel poverty, exacerbated during a crushing cost of living crisis, we risk that a Net Zero Scotland becomes a two-tier society that leaves behind those who are already struggling. Thanks to the support from the Scottish Funding Council, we are now in a position to mobilise world-leading expertise and forge new collaborations, anchored in the shared vision of creating a better energy future for all.”