Transitioning or tinkering at a net-zero economy? Introducing an assessment framework for industrial cluster decarbonisation in the United Kingdom

Chris Ogwumike, Anderson Akponeware, Adepeju Oyewole, Huda Dawood, Ruben Pinedo-Cuenca, Janie Ling-Chin, Anthony Paul Roskilly, Nashwan Dawood

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Decarbonising industrial clusters globally is crucial in combating climate change and is integral to the United Kingdom's ambition of achieving a net-zero economy by 2050. The absence of holistic frameworks that provide a nuanced understanding of the broad spectrum of mitigation options for decarbonising industrial clusters, coupled with a deficiency in real-world empirical evaluations, present a substantial barrier in realising set targets for reducing CO2 emissions. The increasing fragmentations in industrial decarbonisation frameworks further exacerbates the challenge of identifying the necessary and sufficient actions for achieving optimal industrial decarbonisation and net-zero transitioning. This paper proposes an assessment framework for industrial cluster decarbonisation and aims to address the existing gaps, particularly in the assessment of social, economic, and environmental impact of any deployed technology. Focusing on a wide range of technologies, sectoral strategies, and regional dynamics, the proposed framework is driven by specific key performance indicators and a
comprehensive human and data-driven analytical approach that reflects descriptive, diagnostic, and prescriptive insights on the Teesside industrial cluster in the United Kingdom. Following the validation of the proposed
assessment framework, empirical findings from 30 in-depth semi-structured interviews, two workshops, focus group meetings and the literature on industrial decarbonisation reveal that the framework recognises the complex interplay of technology and decision-making in the transition to net-zero of industrial clusters. The article concludes that the proposed assessment framework can assist stakeholders, policymakers, and researchers in assessing the impacts of energy transition, which is critical to policy design and decision-making while also contributing to achieving sustainable decarbonisation goals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103459
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2024


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