Browse/search for people

Dr Ed Atkins

Dr Ed Atkins

Dr Ed Atkins
BAHons(Kent), MA(Kent), MRes(Bristol), PhD


Area of research


Office G14.1N
University Road,
Clifton, Bristol BS8 1SS
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 954 5973


My research is based on the contested character of environmental and energy policy, politics and governance. This is with a particular focus on the local politics of energy generation and consumption – and moves across three interrelated themes:

  1. The contentious politics of hydropower
    Current research explores the contested sustainability of hydropower in the Brazilian Amazon. In particular, I am interested in how social movements and civil society actors have contested the Belo Monte and São Luiz do Tapajós dams, exploring how such responses challenge dominant understandings of hydropower as a ‘sustainable’ energy source that has a role in energy transitions.

  2. The localised energy demands of cryptocurrencies – and wider digital technologies
    Whilst the above project explores the contested character of energy production, I am starting new work that focuses on an emergent use of energy in the 21st century. This analyses the role that energy demands associated with the generation of cryptocurrencies play in patterns of uneven development, globalisation and energy justice, as well as necessitating new policy regimes.

  3. ‘Just transition’
    Situated at the point that the two above strands of work meet, my work on the concept of ‘just transition’ explores or how environmental and energy policy must be equitable and inclusive. Whilst there is an urgency around discussing and mitigating climate change, it is important to ensure that segments of our community (at local, national and global levels) are not left behind or unsupported. This work explores how policy concepts, such as a Green New Deal, can piece together an energy transition that works for everyone.

    In exploring this topic, I have grown particularly interested in the concept of 'contested sustainabilities', in which the ambiguity of contemporary notions of sustainability have given rise to divergent - and, at times, conflicting pathways of sustainable development.


I am a Lecturer at the School of Geographical Sciences, leading and supporting units offered at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and conducting research into contemporary environmental and energy politics. 

I first arrived at the University of Bristol in Autumn 2013, to complete an ESRC-funded PhD in Environment, Energy & Resilience (awarded in 2018). In addition, I hold a BA (Hons) in History and an MA in International Relations and International Law from the University of Kent and an MRes from the University of Bristol.


  • Environmental Politics
  • Sustainable Development; Energy Politics; Just transition; Green New Deal

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

Edit this profile If you are Dr Ed Atkins, you can edit this page. Login required.

PDF versionDownload PDF