Energy transitions, sub-national government and regime flexibility: How has devolution in the United Kingdom affected renewable energy development?

Richard Cowell, Geraint Ellis, Fionnguala Sherry-Brennan, Peter A. Strachan, Dave Toke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
257 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Amidst growing analytical interest in the spatial dimensions of sustainable energy transitions, relatively little attention has been given to the role of sub-national government, or the ways in which dominant socio-technical regimes navigate diverse contexts. This paper addresses these concerns in a linked fashion by assessing the impacts of devolution within the UK on renewable energy development. It draws principally on policy networks analysis as the basis of a comparative assessment, examining how far the governments of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have translated their formal powers in the energy sphere into renewable energy outcomes. Scotland’s relative success in facilitating rapid expansion of on-shore wind is attributed to a more enduring and cohesive policy community around of renewable energy growth than in Northern Ireland and Wales, but this success has been adversely affected by fragmenting policy networks around renewables at national (UK) level. The analysis highlights especially the role of planning and consenting, as mechanisms by which devolved governments have worked to contain the potentially disruptive effects of opposition to major infrastructure investments, thereby enhancing regime reproduction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Volume23
Early online date31 Oct 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2017

Keywords

  • Renewable energy
  • devolution
  • policy networks
  • transition
  • UK

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

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