Realising Transition Pathways


Analysing Transition Pathways

The consortium will start by looking at the three existing core transition pathways that were developed during Phase 1 (Transition Pathways) by applying a multi-level transitions framework. The three cores are:

Market Rules (MR)

Envisioning broader continuation of the current market-led governance pattern, in which the government only specifies the high-level system goals and sets up broad institutional structures, but otherwise minimises possible interference in market arrangements.

Energy companies dominate this pathway and 'landsape' pressures (e.g. climate change, energy security) on these actors lead to concentration on large-scale low carbon technologies (capture-ready coal, nuclear power, offshore wind) under incentives from a high carbon price.

Central Co-ordination (CC))

Envisioning greater direct UK government involvement in governance of energy systems.

Focus is on centralised generation technologies such as coal, gas CCS, nuclear power, off/on shore wind, wave and tidal power.This is achieved through a government-created 'Strategic Energy Authority' that uses contracts with large energy companies to reduce risks of low-carbon investments.

Thousand Flowers (TF)

Envisioning a sharper focus on more local, bottom-up diverse solutions.This decentralised power network is driven by innovative local authorities and citizen groups.

Energy service companies (ESCOs) become key actors and develop local micro-grids.

Small-scale renewable technologies emerge from niches (including on/off shore wind, renewable CHP, solar, wave and tidal power) as well as imports, as positive feedbacks lead to 'virtuous cycles' in deployment of these technologies, and greater community ownership of generation, including onshore wind and biomass CHP.


To address the research challenges and questions arising from the exisiting pathways and previous work, the project will undertake theoretically leading, empirically informed research under four interlocking groupings or 'Wedges'.

The four Wedges are: