Incentives for behaviour change

This project explores behavioural solutions to reduce consumption-related greenhouse gas emissions. As decarbonisation strategies move beyond low-carbon power generation, the need to change consumer behaviour and increase the acceptability of new technologies becomes increasingly important. At the same time, behavioural economics has emerged as a key field within economics to study the nuances of human behaviour, how it deviates from the ideals of rationality, and what can be done to ‘nudge’ people towards different modes of behaviour, such as saving more for the future and saving carbon.

Leveraging associated research, the project features collaboration with energy-sector partners in a large-scale experiment to identify policy and product-design incentives for low-carbon behaviour and the adoption of smart meters. Smart electricity meters are a key enabling infrastructure for a more flexible energy system, facilitating integration of higher proportions of intermittent renewable energy sources. However, consumers have so far been reluctant to adopt smart meters for a range of reasons. In partnership with a large energy utility, the next phase of this research will examine barriers to adoption of smart-meters amongst households and design robust interventions to increase uptake.

The research leaders for this project are Misato Sato and Daire McCoy.

Working papers