By Claire West

How individuals and communities use energy, their understanding of energy use and effective, community management of energy and energy regulation will form the basis of seven new Energy and Communities initiative projects.

The projects are a part of the Energy Research Programme which will work with communities from the outset of their research to find appropriate ways to reduce energy demand. The £4 million investment from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is expected to have significant impact within the communities that they are working with and beyond, to other communities looking to address energy demand reduction in the context of increasing challenges in energy security and equity.

The UK has a target to reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. This enormous task requires changes to every aspect of energy generation, supply, use and regulation. In the short term the Government has targeted a 34 per cent cut in emissions by 2030. The research agenda for these projects was developed through workshops and extensive dialogue with stakeholders, such as interest groups, social enterprises and policy makers, at a national and local level.

Led by the EPSRC, the Energy Research Programme brings together the work of the EPSRC and that of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the ESRC, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).