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- PublicationPeigí's Adventures in Science(UCD, 2021-10-01)Peigí’s Adventures in Science represents an innovative collaboration between two UCD staff members, Dr Shane Bergin, a physicist and Dr Declan Fahie a teacher educator and former primary school teacher. The four stories offer an age-appropriate introduction to social justice and science themes. Designed specifically for junior classes, issues of fairness and equity, in tandem with science topics like space, travel, environmental awareness and growing things, are explored gently through the medium of story. The central character, Peigí the cocker spaniel, is the common thread throughout the four stories and her adventures provide the young reader with engagement and excitement while highlighting both the everyday nature of science and the importance of treating others with care and consideration.
- PublicationHarnessing electricity retail tariffs to support climate change policy(2018-06-29)Legacy electricity retail tariffs are ill-adapted to future electricity systems and markets, particularly with regard to accommodating the multi-faceted shift toward decarbonisation. We examine how retail tariffs need to be reformed to not only meet the future revenue requirements of energy-suppliers and networks but also to help achieve the environmental objectives of the energy transition. While existing literature has explored the link between retail tariff structure design, wholesale markets and/or network cost recovery, there is less recognition of the impact of tariff structure design on environmental objectives. This paper reviews the demand responsiveness of household customers to electricity prices and implications of retail tariff structure and design for the policy targets of CO2 emissions, energy efficiency, and renewable electricity generation, in addition to electricity system. A review of the literature provides a theoretical basis for price elasticity of demand and electricity retail tariff design, and we explore the environmental implications for future retail tariff design options via examples of various tariff structures in the EU and US. The research links the topics of emissions mitigation policy and market design, and should add empirical insights to the body of academic literature on future electricity markets. It should also be of interest to policy makers wishing to consider retail tariff structures that promote decarbonisation of the electricity system through multiple objectives of improved energy efficiency and increased shares of renewable electricity within future electricity markets.
- PublicationFactors influencing early electric vehicle adoption in Ireland(2018-08-31)The objective of this work is to analyse the key determinants of electric vehicle uptake amongst early adopters. Transport accounts for about a quarter of Europe’s total greenhouse gas emissions and has not achieved similar reductions in emissions as other sectors. However, there is an opportunity to achieve lower emissions through the widespread use of electric vehicles. Due to the rising awareness of the link between emissions and global warming, the European Union has set serious targets for renewable energy and greenhouse gas emissions that member states must achieve by 2020 and 2030. Although considerable progress has been made in reaching targets, efforts in the transport sector have been lagging in many countries, with a significant boost required in electric vehicle roll-out if transport-specific targets are to be met. One reason for this lack of progress is possibly an incomplete understanding of the motivations behind consumer uptake, which in turn, hampers policy design to encourage adoption. Here, for the first time, the case study of Ireland is used to analyse socio-demographic and neighbourhood characteristics such as charging infrastructure, dealers and other EV adopters, to identify the key determinants of electric vehicle adoption in the early phase of technology diffusion. From our exploratory data analysis, social class which represents whether the population consists of skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled workers, appears to be the principal factor affecting EV uptake in Ireland. This variable may proxy for income effects, implying that the average wealth of a neighbourhood matters for EV ownership. There also appears to be clustering in EV adopters, possibly due to unobserved peer effects. The OLS model performs poorly for our dataset. Our future work will help determine the significant predictors of adoption based on a spatial econometric approach that explicitly models relationships between agents in the model such that the restrictive assumptions of OLS models can be relaxed to allow for interdependence between individual actors.
- PublicationAdoption of Renewable Home Heating Systems: An Agent-Based Model of Heat Pump Systems in Ireland(2020-01-14)Concerns about climate change and desire for more secure energy provision. Deployment of renewable energy technologies such as heat pump systems for home heating is among the viable solution. The uptake of such technology depends not only on financial aspects but also on behavioural factors and social networks. We develop an agent-based model (computational simulation) to analyze the adoption process of heat pump systems and the underlying diffusion factors. We use a recent nationally representative Irish household survey data to derive parameters for decision rules based on empirical data
- PublicationThe landlord-tenant problem and energy efficiency in the residential rental market(Elsevier, 2021-10)The aim of this paper is to test for the persistence of the landlord-tenant energy efficiency problem in the residential rental property market in the presence of information on property energy performance. To do this, we compare the efficiency of rental and non-rental properties using a combination of Coarsened Exact Matching (CEM) and parametric regression. We use a sample of 585,578 residential properties in the Republic of Ireland - a region that legally requires rental properties to display energy performance certificates when advertised. The findings suggest that the landlord-tenant problem is present in the Irish rental market but that it is not uniform across locations, indicating the influence of other factors. To explore this further, we exploit the regional variation in rental property prices. We find a larger difference between rental and non-rental properties’ energy efficiency in markets with scarcity in rental property supply. In addition, we are able to take advantage of a unique trait in building design to compare rental and non-rental properties which were identical at the time of their construction. The findings from this sub-group mirror our finding for the sample as a whole.
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