Dr Jeff Hardy, Senior Research Fellow, Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College London
30 March 2022
What is your current role at your Institution?
I'm a Senior Research Fellow at the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London. Within EnergyREV, I lead the Institutions theme and our work on policy, regulation, and market enablers.
How does this role build on previous work?
I've been working in the policy and regulation of sustainable energy for the past fifteen years or so. Before returning to academia, I was Head of Sustainable Energy Futures at Ofgem, the GB energy regulator. The issues we are researching in EnergyREV are similar to those I faced at Ofgem. The difference is I'm less limited in what I recommend in EnergyREV, and at the same time, I have less power to do something about it. Alongside EnergyREV, I've also been in other research. I worked on financing community energy in a project funded by UK Energy Research Centre and led by Professor Carly McLachlan at the University of Manchester. I've also been part of a Utility 2050 team, which explored the future of electric utilities led by Dr Steve Hall at the University of Leeds. I'm actually a chemist by background, but most of what I do now is more in social science. I've been called a political economist, but I'm not really sure I can claim to be one.
What is the most exciting thing about the research that you have done to date?
Together with Dr Madeleine Morris, we are currently running a series of workshops called "Decision Theatres". In these workshops, we ask energy stakeholders to agree on the most important decisions that will enable smart local energy systems. We don't let anyone go until they all consent to a shortlist of decisions. We've run six of these workshops and they have been terrific fun. Stay tuned for the outputs in May.
What skills and perspectives are you bringing to EnergyREV?
In many ways, I'm a little unusual as an academic. I've stepped in and out of academia several times in my career. I've worked in the energy industry and as a civil servant in policy and regulation. I'm part-time at Imperial College as I split my time between academia, non-executive positions, and I am the Director of my own energy consultancy business. I bring this blend of analytical skills and policy and business experience to EnergyREV. Whilst my background doesn't make the research any less challenging or rigorous, it means that I can usually see a route to impact for the outputs.