The challenges of a low carbon energy transition have now been recognized by most nation states, each of whom have responded with differing visions, strategies and programmes, with variable veracity and effectiveness. Given the complexity of each country’s energy system (and sub-systems such as mobility, food etc), the differing sources and wealth of indigenous energy resources, the variable legacy of the fossil fuel regime and differing capacity to respond to global shifts in energy markets, it is clear that each country will respond to this challenge in very different ways.
This poses difficulties for understanding the extent to which a transition may be taking hold in any territory as simple indicators such as GHG emission data or increases in renewable energy ignore the complex contexts in which transitions take place. Drawing on the results of a study, funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (Characterizing and Catalyzing Transitions) and using the wider theoretical framework of socio-technological transitions, this paper will explore the challenges, virtues and constraints of attempting to ‘benchmark’ the Republic of Ireland’s transition. This will lead to wider observations on the normative nature of benchmarking and a critical review of how we conceptualize the very idea of transition.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 06 Sep 2016
EventUK-Ireland Planning Research Conference - School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Duration: 06 Sep 201607 Sep 2016


ConferenceUK-Ireland Planning Research Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • energy transition
  • Ireland
  • Benchmarking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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