Public seminar: Connecting national energy transitions with changes in urban energy systems

CURE will host a public talk entitled ‘Connecting national energy transitions with changes in urban energy systems’, by Professor Aleh Cherp. It will be held on the 1st of December at 3pm, room G32 in Humanities Brigdeford Street. The event will be chaired by Nora Mzavanadze and followed by a wine reception.


Aleh Cherp is a professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy of Central European University (Hungary) and in the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University (Sweden). His research areas include political economy of energy transitions and energy security. He currently leads the POLET (Political Economy of Energy Transitions) project which is part of the Energy and Society Intellectual Theme at CEU. In 2008-2012 he was the Convening Lead Analyst on Energy Security of the Global Energy Assessment. Prof Cherp has undertaken professional work for the European Environment Agency (EEA), NATO, OSCE, UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, the World Bank, and USAID among others. He was the Rapporteur of the Advisory Working Group on the Environment (including Climate Change) of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission and a panel chair and an evaluator of the European Research Council. In addition to his research, Aleh coordinates a Masters’s program on Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management (formerly an Erasmus Mundus Masters course) jointly operated by 6 Universities including the University of Manchester. Aleh also runs a popular blog on academic productivity – ‘Macademic – Academic workflows on Mac‘.

Incidentally Aleh is also an alumnus of the University of Manchester having graduated with a MS degree in Pollution and Environmental Control in 1992 and a PhD degree in Environmental Impact Assessment from the Department of Planning of Landscape in 2000.

Aleh’s current research focuses on studies of energy security and energy transitions using the lens of political economy. His public talk at the University of Manchester will present his and his team’s attempts in defining and framing energy transitions from a theoretical standpoint. Energy transition as a concept stems from the practitioners’ and policy-makers’ world in response to various policy initiatives to transform the energy systems away from dependence on fossil fuels for many reasons, e.g. energy security, economic competitiveness, climate change among many others. Aleh will bring insights from energy transitions in Germany and Japan and will talk about the implications for urban energy transformations.

An abstract of Aleh’s talk is included below. We hope that Aleh’s come back to his Alma Mater will be pleasant and fruitful.


There is no single theory of national energy transitions and the literature differs on how the vast existing knowledge could be best integrated. A recent study has proposed a meta-theoretical framework for the analysis of national energy transitions, which is based on the concept of co-evolution of semi-autonomous systems delineated by (a) energy flows; (b) energy technologies and (c) energy policies and governance arrangements. This framework uses Elinor Ostrom’s Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) approach to bring together three perspectives: techno-economic with its roots in economics; socio-technical with its roots in sociology of technology; and political with its roots in political science. IAD provides a structure for systematically identifying and integrating variables and theories from the three perspectives for understanding continuity and change in national energy systems. This talk will explore the applicability of lessons from this framework and empirical comparative studies to urban energy transformations.