School of Social and Political Science

Dr Jess Britton

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Research interests


Jess is a Research Fellow within the Local and Regional Energy Systems theme of the UK Energy Research Centre, working on the local governance and policy needs for smart, flexible energy systems. Jess' research focusses on understanding the role of decentralised actors in achieving net-zero energy systems, and how this relates to loca, regional and national governance structures. This incorporates research on interactions between decentralised energy systems and political devolution, the role of local governments, as well as smart cities and how energy business models are changing. Her PhD examined the development of heat networks in the UK and Germany with an emphasis on the role of municipal utilities. Previously she was an ESRC post-doctoral fellow at the University of Exeter and worked on the EPRSC project IGov (Innovation and Governance for future energy systems). She also researches gender and diversity within the energy industry and the research community.

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Wade F, Britton J, Webb J. Credible and comprehensive? Comparing policy mixes for Local Energy systems in England, Scotland and Wales. Energy Research & Social Science. 2024 Apr 1;110:1-15. 103413. Epub 2024 Feb 2. doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2024.103413
Britton J, Webb J. Institutional work and social skill: The formation of strategic action fields for local energy systems in Britain. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. 2024 Mar 1;50:1-14. 100789. Epub 2023 Dec 1. doi: 10.1016/j.eist.2023.100789
Britton J, Poulter H, Rattle I, Bolton R, Webb J, Taylor P. Governing local energy and industrial decarbonisation in Britain: Planning innovations and implications for net zero GHG emission goals. In Governance innovations for climate and energy transitions in cities’ ECPR Joint Sessions. 2024
Britton J, Webb J, Bolton R. Local and regional energy systems. In Review of Energy Policy 2023. UK Energy Research Centre. 2023. p. 8-10 doi: 10.5286/UKERC.EDC.000967
Letcher MR, Britton J. PV, or not PV: Using backcasting to explore policy, market and governance implications of local decarbonisation pathways such as urban PV. Renewable Energy Focus. 2023 Mar 1;44:244-258. Epub 2022 Dec 17. doi: 10.1016/j.ref.2022.12.004
Berglund O, Britton J, Hatzisavvidou S, Robbins C, Shackleton D. Just transition in the post-pandemic city. Local Environment. 2023;28(6):753-767. Epub 2023 Feb 9. doi: 10.1080/13549839.2023.2173732
Harvey-Scholes C, Mitchell C, Britton J, Lowes R. Citizen policy entrepreneurship in UK local government climate emergency declarations. Review of Policy Research. 2022 Nov 28. Epub 2022 Nov 28. doi: 10.1111/ropr.12522
Britton J, Woodman B, Webb J. Ideational bricolage as a route to transforming local institutions for heat decarbonisation: Heat networks and local government in England. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning. 2022 Jul 4;24(4):449-462. Epub 2022 Jun 6. doi: 10.1080/1523908X.2022.2082932
Britton J, Minas AM, Marques AC, Pourmirza Z. Exploring the potential of heat as a service in decarbonization: Evidence needs and research gaps. Energy Sources Part B: Economics, Planning and Policy. 2021 Jan 20. Epub 2021 Jan 20. doi: 10.1080/15567249.2021.1873460
Britton J. Smart meter data and equitable energy transitions – can cities play a role? In Evans J, Karvonen A, Martin C, Luque-Ayala A, McCormick K, Raven R, Voytenko Palgan Y, editors, Smart and Sustainable Cities?: Pipedreams, Practicalities and Possibilities. 1 ed. Routledge. 2020
Kuzemko C, Britton J. Policy, politics and materiality across scales: A framework for understanding local government sustainable energy capacity applied in England. Energy Research and Social Science. 2020 Apr;62:1-10. 101367. Epub 2019 Dec 20. doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2019.101367
Judson E, Fitch-Roy O, Pownall T, Bray R, Poulter H, Soutar I et al. The centre cannot (always) hold: Examining pathways towards energy system de-centralisation. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 2020 Feb;118:1-10. 109499. Epub 2019 Nov 1. doi: 10.1016/j.rser.2019.109499
Britton J. Smart meter data and equitable energy transitions–can cities play a role? Local Environment. 2019;24(7):595-609. Epub 2017 Oct 9. doi: 10.1080/13549839.2017.1383372
Britton J. Localising energy: Heat networks and municipal governance. In Goldthau A, Keating MF, Kuzemko C, editors, Handbook of the International Political Economy of Energy and Natural Resources. Edward Elgar. 2018. p. 369–382. (Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series). doi: 10.4337/9781783475636.00036
Connor PM, Xie L, Lowes R, Britton J, Richardson T. The development of renewable heating policy in the United Kingdom. Renewable Energy. 2015 Mar;75:733-744. Epub 2014 Nov 8. doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2014.10.056
Britton J, Woodman B. Local Enterprise Partnerships and the low-carbon economy: Front runners, uncertainty and divergence. Local Economy. 2014 Sept 1;29(6-7):617-634. Epub 2014 Aug 21. doi: 10.1177/0269094214548664
Souter I, Whiting J. Energy security policy in Britain: Markets, complexity and challenges. In Mitchell C, Watson J, Whiting J, editors, New Challenges in Energy Security: The UK in a Multipolar World. Palgrave Macmillan. 2013. p. 68-91. (Energy, Climate and the Environment). doi: 10.1057/9781137298850
Mitchell C, (ed.), Watson J, (ed.), Whiting J, (ed.). New Challenges in Energy Security: The UK in a Multipolar World. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. 306 p. (Energy, Climate and the Environment). doi: 10.1057/9781137298850