Global electricity demand, even with the covid scar, is projected to grow at a 4-5% in the near future mainly from the Asia Pacific with China, and India expecting a 9% demand growth. Almost half of this additional demand will be met by fossil fuel generation settling at 40% shortly after. This will put more pressure on climate action and on renewable energy (RE) generation to ramp up beyond the projected 6-8% growth. The Net-zero emissions target by 2050 is a tall order and, even though there are non-electricity sectors that are high emitters such as food, other highest polluters of transport and construction are energy dependent and need to become climate friendly. With energy needs of the developed world and high energy demand growth from development priorities in the rest, the most immediate climate imperative is technical, political and socio-economic. Technically it needs to get grid parity in all sources of RE generation, politically to get consensus from countries with large employment and income dependencies on traditional energy processes and socio-economically in the choices that have to be made. This is represented by groups of countries as well as of peoples.
This doctoral research will focus on the potential of and barriers to achieving RE growth to address future energy generation needs in three countries the UK, Saudi Arabia and India which represent the developed world, the fossil fuel rich world dependent on fossil fuel income and the high growth developing world pursuing economic catch-up with future environmental cost. The research will explore the various RE approaches beyond the high growth solar power generation that has grown substantially in several regions, including ocean energy, wind, hydro and biomass in terms of
- technical feasibility
- economic feasibility
- socio-cultural and policy feasibility
of the transition in these representative countries measured against the 2050 climate change/ emissions goal. It will also examine demand side debates such as degrowth and those that call for redistribution of energy access in the backdrop of energy needs of the global south and the global north.
A mixed methods study will be advisable with secondary data collected a) on existing projects worldwide and relevant maritime regulations, b) data on electricity intermittency and base load for alternative RE options. Primary data will be generated through survey instruments and interviews with selected stakeholder types and target respondents including from RE generators and associations, electricity distributors, load dispatchers, exchanges, electricity regulators, financial institutions, government authorities and non-government organisations and users/ members of the public.
Data analysis will be done with inferential statistical tools for association, causality tests as well as data visualisation and network mapping tools (like Kumu or decomposing tools) of qualitative data and with newer techniques such as SAP-LAP representing linkages among stakeholders analysing current situations. From this, it will also undertake predictive analysis examining potential for change and investment risks in reaching grid parity and net-zero climate impact compared with national policy announcements of countries.
This project is supervised by Dr Sanjay Bhowmick.
Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
· Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
· Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF21/…) will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: Open
Start Date: March 2022 or October 2022
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff and students. We welcome applications from all members of the community.