Granular energy technologies that scale through replication have smaller unit sizes and costs than lumpier large-scale alternatives. Under certain conditions, more granular technologies are empirically associated with faster diffusion, lower investment risk, faster learning, more opportunities to escape lock-in, more equitable access, more job creation, and higher social returns on innovation investment. In combination, these advantages enable more rapid change. Unit scale is a readily available criterion for assessing whether net-zero pathways, clean energy innovation portfolios, or the fiscal stimulus mobilised following the pandemic can deliver accelerated decarbonisation.
About the speaker: Professor Charlie Wilson is in the Energy Programme at the Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography & Environment. Charlie’s research is at the intersection between innovation, people, and policy in the context of energy and climate change. He analyses the drivers and dynamics of change in energy transitions, both historically and into the future using scenarios and modelling. He is also interested in micro-scale processes of low-carbon innovation, technology adoption, and pro-environmental behaviour.