Mapping Ireland’s Energy Pathways: Characterizing and Catalyzing Transition

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In 2015 Ireland has arguably begun to make its first bold steps in confronting the challenges of energy transition, with the objective of a “low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by the end of the
year 2050” expressed in the 2015 Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill and the 2015 Energy Bill acknowledging that energy transformation relied on a new breed of ‘energy citizens’. These represent the first formal articulation of Ireland’s ambition to engage in a radical, long-term and far-reaching transition process, and raises a myriad of questions over how this can be operationalised, resourced and whether it can maintain political momentum. A range of perspectives on these issues is provided in the growing body of literature on transition theories (Rotmans et al 2001, Markard et al 2012) and the inter-disciplinary EPA-funded CC Transitions project, based at Queen’s University Belfast, represents an attempt to translate this into the context of Ireland’s institutions and technological profile. By relating this to international research on sustainability transitions, which conceptualises transitions as multi-level, multi-phase and multi-actor processes, this paper will explore the opportunities of alternative pathways that could take Ireland towards a more progressing, inclusive and effective low carbon future. Drawing on a number of case studies it will highlight some of the capacities for transition required in Irish society: where these exist, how they are being built or enabled, and the barriers to wider social change.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2016
Event3rd Energy and Society Conference: Transforming Energy for Society - Leipzig, Germany
Duration: 12 Sep 201614 Sep 2016


Conference3rd Energy and Society Conference
Internet address

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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