Project Information Sheet

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The Powershifts Project

You are being invited to take part in a research study (the survey link is here: Powershifts Survey). Before you decide whether or not to take part, it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the following information carefully.

What is the purpose of the study?

This project examines the influence of decentralised renewable energy initiatives on existing policy dynamics. It examines situations where there has been political conflict over policies that determine the route to market for decentralised electricity generators.

Why have I been invited to participate?

Your expertise is sought because of your knowledge of the ways that you, and other actors, participate in decision-making processes that are concerned with decentralised renewable energy and routes to market. The survey builds upon findings from an earlier phase of case study research across North America and Europe. Government department staff, regulators, and decision makers from across the OECD have also been contacted. The target sample is 3-5 responses for each of 36 OECD countries.

Do I have to take part?

Participation is completely voluntary. All responses are confidential and will be anonymized. If you do take part, your completion of the survey will be taken to indicate consent. However, you can still withdraw your participation at any point up until the publication of results without consequences. If you do this, your data will be destroyed.

What will happen to me if I take part?

Participation will involve completion of a confidential online survey (15-20 minutes). Survey questions will address the kinds of approaches used by interest groups in pursuing their policy ambitions, the groups that work together in trying to shape policy, and the ways these have changed over the past 10 years. The survey will be administered in April and May 2019. Results will be available within six months of the survey close.

What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?

The research will take approximately 15-20 minutes of your time. There are no known or anticipated risks to you as a participant in this study beyond those presented by your regular professional duties.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

  • Specific strategies and lessons drawn from across the OECD for policy makers, utilities, and existing and new energy actors on how best to navigate and support energy transitions;
  • Decreased uncertainty about how energy politics are changing as new actors struggle to enter the energy market, and;
  • Increased clarity on how to structure renewable energy policy processes to ensure the achievement of more effective, democratic, and equitable policies.

Will my information in this study be kept confidential?

All personal data will be kept strictly confidential (subject to legal limitations). Your name and any information that could identify you personally will not appear in materials resulting from this study. Anonymous quotations may be used and will be attributed using codes for participants. Data collected during this study will be stored in secure, locked or password protected sites at the University of Sussex. Only the primary research team will have access.

What should I do if I want to take part?

To provide your consent to participate, you will need to simply complete the survey: Powershifts Survey

What will happen to the results of the research study?

Data will be used to generate short fact sheets, policy briefs, academic journal articles, and online content. If you provide confidential contact information, you will be emailed findings in policy brief format. Any other findings can be accessed by request to Data collected for this study will be retained for ten years in secure, locked or password protected sites at the University of Sussex.

Who is organising and funding the research?

This research is being conducted by staff in the Science Policy Research Unit in the Business School at the University of Sussex. Funding is provided by an EU Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellowship(grant no. 751843), and the University of Sussex. Support was previously provided by Utrecht University.

Who has approved this study?

This research has been approved by the University of Sussex Social Sciences & Arts Cross-Schools Research Ethics Committee (C-REC).

Contact for Further Information

For further information please contact Marie Claire Brisbois,, +44 (0) 1273 876801. If you have any concerns about the way in which the study has been conducted, you can contact Dr. Liz McDonnell, Chair of the Social Science and Arts Cross-Schools Research Ethics Committee,


The University of Sussex has insurance in place to cover its legal liabilities in respect of this study.

Thank you.

28 January 2019