I am currently completing an MRes in Energy Demand Studies. My research combines insights from the socio-technical and governance literatures to explore changes in the system architecture and governance of electricity distribution networks in the UK. I find this topic particularly fascinating given the key role of electricity infrastructure in enabling the energy transition. My PhD will expand this line of inquiry by adopting a comparative approach to see whether any lessons can be drawn for the UK from the experiences of other countries.
I have a background in journalism and political science. I joined Lolo after completing an MSc in Global Governance at UCL during which researched the determinants of investment in renewable energy in developing countries. I presented this work to the International Climate Finance Team at BEIS and the resulting paper has been recently published on the Journal of Cleaner Production.
Abstract of Giulia’s MRes dissertation
My MRes dissertation investigates an understudied aspect of the UK sustainable energy transition: the governance of electricity distribution networks. This infrastructure is considered key to enabling the cost-effective integration of renewable technologies and the potential for demand electrification in coming years. Whilst abundant research exists on technical aspects in this field, political challenges have been overlooked despite the significance of governance in enabling and constraining technical change. In a departure from traditional approaches in this domain, this study combines insights from the socio-technical and political science literatures to study the recent evolution of the governance regime underpinning on-going change in electricity distribution networks. As such, this process is seen as not only socio-technical, but also inherently political, contingent upon institutional structures and wider political trends, and characterised by complex multi-actor and multi-level interactions. The analysis is based on evidence collected through interviews with 15 key UK energy system stakeholders and a range of policy documents. Findings reveal that, in order to support the long-term goal of a smart and flexible grid, how the system is regulated, planned and operated is being reviewed by policymakers and the wider industry, with new governing rationalities, practices and strategies emerging in response to changing system needs. As this process unfolds, a variety of visions for future system governance and architecture are emerging and being contested. This study has identified a number of perceived implications of current change trajectories, policy trade-offs and tensions that exist within the current distribution networks governance regime, which might reveal potential pathways for policy and regulatory action.