A Sheffield Hallam University academic has been selected as the scientific advisor for an international programme on engaging with hard-to-reach energy users.
Dr Aimee Ambrose, a reader in energy policy at the University was appointed to the programme led by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The programme will look at the different categories that hard-to-reach energy users come under in various countries and contexts, and will develop and pilot innovative approaches to improving engagement between providers of energy services and the identified energy user groups.
Speaking about the programme, Dr Ambrose said: “I am thrilled to be working with colleagues around the world to shed light on the critically important issue of how we can work more effectively, to engage the hardest to reach individuals and households with energy services and initiatives that have the potential to significantly improve their lives.
“Energy policy makers, practitioners and academics consistently fail to reach specific groups in society, and they are often those who need that support the most. This is an issue I’ve been looking at in my work for a number of years, this project will bring together an international community of experts to grab this issue by the scruff of the neck and give it the attention it deserves.
“I’m delighted to be playing a key role in the delivery of such a vital and much needed project that offers huge potential to change the lives of many vulnerable and overlooked groups for the better.”
A person who is seen as a hard-to-reach energy user in the residential sector may range from someone who does not have access to basic energy services, to someone who is living in an energy inefficient home but can’t or doesn’t accept support.
Some of the most common hard to reach groups include the young, old, vulnerable, poor, isolated and those in poor health. This programme will seek to identify the full range of factors that might affect whether a person or group is hard to reach and in doing so will hopefully lead to improved understanding and interaction with all those who are hard to reach.
Dr Sea Rotmann, the New Zealand operating agent at the IEA and leader of the new programme on hard to reach energy users, said: “We are beyond stoked to have Dr Ambrose as our chief scientific advisor. Not only has she done invaluable work with us in recent years, this is a topic she is a world-leading expert on. We also welcome Sheffield Hallam as our project partner.”
The programme begins in June 2019 and will run for an estimated three years.