Renewable energy in the UK: Connecting pasts and futures

About the project or challenge area

Renewable energy use is growing globally. As we face up to climate change and the planet-altering consequences of fossil fuels, transition to renewable sources of energy is being promoted as a key step towards a more sustainable future. But renewables have a fascinating past, that can inform their use going forward. This project proposes research on the history of renewable energies in the UK, to connect current and future policy-making with knowledge of how renewables industries have developed, learnt and adapted. Why did certain technologies succeed where others failed? How consistent has state energy policy been? Are there problems or tensions around renewable energy projects, and why might this be? Your supervisor will be an environmental historian actively researching the history of wind energy, and there will be scope to shape your project according to your particular interest (a focus on technology, policy, place or community, for example).

Why choose this opportunity?

You will have the opportunity to shape your research project in consultation with your supervisor and pursue the aspect of this topic that is most relevant to you. You will have the opportunity to bring historical research into conversation with contemporary issues, and other fields – engineering, politics, geography. An interdisciplinary perspective is welcomed.

About you

You will have skills in undertaking independent research, with preferably (but not essentially) some experience of working with archives/historical materials.

How to apply

All students can apply using the button below, following the Master's by Research Admissions Statement. Please note that this is an advertised challenge area, which means you should complete Section A + B of the Masters by Research Statement Template (Office document, 68kB).

Before applying, we recommend getting in touch with the project's supervisors. If you are interested in this project and would like to learn more about the research you will be undertaking, please use the contact details on this page.


Marianna Dudley Supervisor

Your supervisor for this project will be Marianna Dudley, Lecturer in Environmental Humanities in the School of Humanities, Department of History. You can contact her at +44 117 33 10829 or email

Find out more about your prospective research community

The Low Carbon Energy theme is a vibrant community of researchers who integrate expertise across multiple disciplines to develop sustainable energy policy and technologies which are crucial to providing a safe, reliable and low-cost energy supply for a growing global population. We innovate in every part of the energy system, from generation and storage, to regulation and end-user demand Find out more about the Low Carbon Energy theme.

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