Energy is a universal currency and is considered in modern economic concept as fuel, measured by the capability to do work or the conversion of the capability to do work into motion, which embraces physical, environmental and socio-economic disciplines and pedagogies.
The worth of energy is determined by its ease of conversion into useful work and hence the global prevalence of fossil fuel that has propelled nations. Given that energy has played a dominant role in civilisation, the historical industrial revolutions were essentially noted as energy revolutions – mechanisation; assembly line and mass production; automation; and recently, net-zero energy transition propelled by alternative energy sources. Consequentially, energy is directly related to most critical economic, technological and socio-political issues (i.e. water supply, sanitation, mobility, food production, environmental quality, education, job creation, security, and global peace) that are impacting sustainable development.
The abundance of energy at the disposal of the Global North (GN – i.e. Developed Countries) has widened dominance, supremacy and control of world affairs. Regrettably, access to these lucrative fuels is still a myth in the Global South (GS – i.e. Developing Countries). Undoubtedly, economic disparity amongst nations is predominantly a factor of control over fuel as an energy source and is vividly demonstrated by the fact that over One (1) billion people globally are out of the electricity grid while in excess of Two (2) billion are disadvantaged of modern energy sources – sadly; many of whom abode in the GS. Unequal access to energy has led to both local, regional, national and international conflicts, battles and wars claiming lives and properties and propelling abundance of refugees at their homes and away!
There are numerous sources of energy prevalent in both GN and GS; these energies are unique but sometimes wrongly classified as conventional (non-renewable – i.e. coal, gas, nuclear and oil) and non-conventional (renewable – i.e. biomass, geothermal, hydro, marine or ocean, solar and wind) energy. There are added sources to the non-conventional energy such as carbon capture and storage (CCS), e-storage, energy efficiency and waste to energy (WtE).
The provision of energy services through the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil) and traditional biomass contribute adversely to environmental degradation of land, air and water. The world as a whole and the GS, in particular, has reached a stage at which energy demand growths are resulting in the rapid depletion of finite fossil energy resources. Naturally occurring Green House Gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide, methane, oxides of nitrogen and ozone concentration in the atmosphere had significantly increased in recent times. These are mainly caused by anthropogenic activities whilst its consequences would be most devastating in the GS. Therefore, there is an urgent need on a global scale to stabilise the GHG concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous interference with the naturally adjusted climate change system.
The dichotomy of the above implies few plausible strategic pathways; ensuring equitable distribution between the GN and GS while the other focuses on demand-side control and management with an emphasis on efficiency and pursuit of renewable energy sources leaning towards sustainable net-zero energy transition paradigm as proposed in this research.
Substantial advancement has been made in the use of methods, techniques and tools in the analysis of energy transition planning. However, little attention has been directed towards understanding the relevant causes of inherent complex dynamics in the GS let alone the sustainable net-zero energy transition. Further, the orthodox approach to problem visualisation based on “event causes event” that works well for simple linear problems are inadequate in solving strategically complex energy transition issues as observed in the GS. Problems and dynamics associated with energy transition in the GS are multifunctional on a country level and multinational on a global scale. It hence requires rigorous planning analysis before their adaptation as a tool for sustainable net-zero energy transition in the GS.
How to Apply
This project is available as a 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time PhD study programme with an expected start date of 1 May or 1 October 2020.
Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying.
To apply for this project, use the following link to access the online application form, as well as further information on how to apply: https://www.gcu.ac.uk/research/postgraduateresearchstudy/applicationprocess/
Please send any other enquires regarding your application to [email protected]