School of Social and Political Science

Ronan Bolton

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Chisholm House

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I am an interdisciplinary energy researcher with a background in mechanical engineering and environmental social science. My work examines the interconnected policy, market and regulatory challenges of transforming carbon based energy systems. I have particular research interests in the areas of energy network regulation and system integration, along with the the history and development of liberalisation processes in the energy sector. 


PhD, Energy Policy, University of Leeds

MSc, Environmental Sustainability, University of Edinburgh

BEng, Mechanical Engineering, National University of Ireland Galway


Full publication list

Research interests

Research interests

Climate change and energy policy, Energy policy and politics, Technology and society, Sociology of markets, Sustainability

Current projects

ENSYSTRA - Energy Systems in Transition

UK Energy Research Centre - Local and Regional Energy Systems Theme

INTEGRATE - Integrating seasoNal Thermal storagE with multiple enerGy souRces to decArbonise Thermal Energy

PhD Topics

I am interested in supervising PhDs in: Socio-technical Systems, UK and International Energy Policy, Future of Energy Markets, Infrastructure Governance and Climate Change

Find out more about the programmes that I am involved with:

Publications by user content

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Hannon M, Bolton R. Energy innovation and the sustainability transition. In Rubino A, Sapio A, La Scala M, editors, Handbook of Energy Economics and Policy: Fundamentals and Applications for Engineers and Energy Planners. 1 ed. Academic Press. 2021
Bolton R, Clausen T. Ambiguous interventions: Capacity remuneration mechanisms and the politics of energy transition in Britain and Germany. Energy Research & Social Science. 2019 Oct;56. 101218.
Bolton R, Lagendijk V, Silvast A. Grand visions and pragmatic integration: Exploring the evolution of Europe’s electricity regime. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. 2019 Sep;32:55-68.
Silvast A, Bolton R, Lagendijk V, Szulecki K. Crossing borders: Social Sciences and Humanities perspectives on European Energy Systems Integration. In Foulds C, Robison R, editors, Advancing Energy Policy: Lessons on the Integration of Social Sciences and Humanities. Palgrave. 2018. p. 97-110
Bolton R. Paying for Transitions: The allocation of ‘whole system’ energy costs and implications for the study of sustainability transitions. 2018. Paper presented at International Sustainability Transitions Conference, Manchester, United Kingdom.
Hall S, Foxon T, Bolton R. Investing in low carbon transitions: Energy finance as an adaptive market. Climate Policy. 2017;17(3):280-298.
Bolton R, Foxon T, Hall S. Energy transitions and uncertainty: Creating low carbon investment opportunities in the UK electricity sector. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy. 2016 Dec 30;34(8):1387-1403.
Bolton R, Hannon M. Governing sustainability transitions through business model innovation: Towards a systems understanding. Research Policy. 2016 Nov;45(9):1731-1742.
Rocholl N, Bolton R. Berlin’s electricity distribution grid: An urban energy transition in a national regulatory context. Technology Analysis and Strategic Management. 2016 Nov;28(10):1182-1194.
Bolton R (Author), Silvast A (Author), Winskel M (Author). The Implications of Brexit for Energy Policy Future of the UK and Scotland, Centre on Constitutional Change, University of Edinburgh. 2016.
Bolton R (Author), Silvast A (Author), Winskel M (Author). The Implications of Brexit for Energy Policy Scottish ClimateXChange. 2016.
Hall S, Foxon TJ, Bolton R. Financing the Civic Energy Sector: How financial institutions affect ownership models in Germany and the United Kingdom. Energy Research & Social Science. 2016 Feb;12:5–15.
Bolton R, Foxon TJ. A socio-technical perspective on low carbon investment challenges - Insights for UK energy policy. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. 2015 Mar;14.
Hannon M, Bolton R. UK Local Authority engagement with the Energy Service Company (ESCo) model: key characteristics, benefits, limitations and considerations. Energy Policy. 2015 Mar;78:198-212.
Bolton R, Foxon T. Infrastructure transformation as a socio-technical process: Implications for the governance of energy distribution networks in the UK. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 2015 Jan;90, Part B:538–550.
Hoggett R, Bolton R, Candelise C, Kern F, Mitchell C. Supply Chains and Energy Security in a Low Carbon Transition. Applied Energy. 2014 Jun 15;123:292–295.
Taylor P, Bolton R, Stone D, Upham P. Developing Pathways for Energy Storage in the UK using a Coevolutionary Framework. Energy Policy. 2013 Dec;63:230-243.
Bolton R, Hawkes A. Infrastructure, Investment and the Low Carbon Transition. In Mitchell C, Watson J, Whiting J, editors, New Challenges in Energy Security: The UK in a Multipolar World . Palgrave Macmillan. 2013. (Energy, Climate and the Environment).
Bolton R. Governing the Energy Transition: Reality, Illusion or Necessity? Routledge Studies in Sustainability Transitions (Book Review). Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. 2013;7:73-75.
Bolton R, Foxon TJ. Urban Infrastructure Dynamics: Market Regulation and the Shaping of District Energy in UK Cities. Environment and Planning A. 2013;45(9):2194-2211.
Taylor P, Bolton R, Stone D, Zhang X-P, Martin C, Upham P. Pathways for Energy Storage in the UK. The Centre for Low Carbon Futures, 2012. 56 p.
Bolton R, Foxon TJ. Governing infrastructure networks for a low carbon economy: co-evolution of technologies and institutions in UK electricity distribution networks. Competition and Regulation in Network Industries. 2011;12(2):2-26.