Research Projects

Research Projects

Just Energy Transition in Scotland and the Arctic: Managing Environmental and Social Impacts of Low-Carbon Energy Projects

Funder: Scottish Government Arctic Connections Fund

Project leader: Dr Daria Shapovalova (AUCEL, Just Transition Lab)

Project duration: November 2021-March 2022

Project summary: Transforming our energy systems is essential to meeting climate goals. Low-carbon energy projects can have significant impacts on environments, communities and wildlife, amplified in the Arctic due to remoteness, importance of sites and habitats for Indigenous Peoples, and increased vulnerability to climate change. In Scotland, ‘Just Transition’ principles, integrated in climate legislation, aim to reduce injustices during the fossil fuel phase-out and renewable energy deployment. This project will identify the main challenges and opportunities in optimising regulation to achieve a just energy transition in Scotland and the Arctic and thereby exchange knowledge, experience and best practice.

Devereux Chambers and Good Law Project and Landmark Chambers

Dr Thomas L Muinzer, Senior Lecturer in Energy Transition Law at AUCEL, has provided a legal brief to barristers Jo Maugham QC (Devereux Chambers and Good Law Project) and Alex Goodman (Landmark Chambers).  The brief concerns certain technical aspects of the UK’s Climate Change Act 2008 relating to the Secretary of State’s capacity to take amending action.  It has been provided in light of an important legal challenge being taken by the Good Law Project and environmentalists Dale Vince and George Monbiot, concerning alleged inconsistency between the UK’s Energy National Policy Statements and the Climate Change Act. 

Further information on the case is available here:


Science Based Regulation of Arctic Energy Installations (SciBAr Installations)

Professor Tina Hunter is co-leading (with Professor Elizabeth Kirk from the Nottingham Trent University) a project examining the degree to which the physical sciences, technology and engineering must and can influence regulation and governance to ensure sustainability of Arctic activities. The project, funded by the AHRC, facilitates the development of a transdiciplinary network of academics and stakeholders designed to provide a 360 degree review of the governance and regulation of threats and impacts to the environment, industry, local communities and other stakeholders associated with offshore energy installations in the Arctic. Under the framework of the project, the inaugural workshop was held at the University of Aberdeen in January 2018. As a direct result of the establishment of the network, the Arctic States, governmental and intergovernmental bodies will benefit from improved connections with experts able to provide advice on scientific understanding of the threats and impacts from and to offshore energy installations and on actual and potential governance and regulatory responses to these threats and impacts. 

Legal Assistance in the Field of Energy to DG ENER (EU Commission)

A consortium including the Centre for Energy Law and VVA Europe, Spark Legal Network, as well as the Groningen Centre of Energy Law has been selected for the provision of services of legal, economic and technical assistance in the fields of energy and transport policies in the context of the framework contract for the SRD MOVE/ENER/SRD.1./2012-409 tender. 

Carnegie Trust in Relation to Innovation and Energy

Abbe Brown is conducting a project funded by the Carnegie Trust in relation to innovation and energy. Dr Brown is looking at whether or not there might be workable new forms of encouraging innovation which are not based in intellectual property rights. Options might be prizes, a different form of exclusive control of innovation more akin to the oil and gas licensing system, a more community based approach, and/or one which takes into account other forms of legal regulation (like competition and climate change).