Planning, Devolution and the Territorialisation of Wind Energy in the UK

Geraint Ellis, Richard Cowell, Peter A Strachan, Dave Toke

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The decarbonisation of energy systems draw a new set of stakeholders into debates over energy generation, engage a complex set of social, political, economic and environmental processes and impact at a wide range of geographical scales, including local landscape changes, national energy markets and regional infrastructure investment. This paper focusses on a particular geographic scale, that of the regions/nations of the UK (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland), who have been operating under devolved arrangements since the late 1990s, coinciding with the mass deployment of wind energy. The devolved administrations of the UK possess an asymmetrical set of competencies over energy policy, yet also host the majority of the UK wind resource. This context provides a useful way to consider the different ways in which geographies of "territory" are reflected in energy governance, such through techno-rational assessments of demand or infrastructure investment, but also through new spatially-defined institutions that seek to develop their own energy future, using limited regulatory competencies. By focussing on the way the devolved administrations have used their responsibilities for planning over the last decade this paper will assess the way in which the spatial politics of wind energy is giving rise to renewed forms of territorialisation of natural resources. In so doing, we aim to contribute to clarifying the questions raised by Hodson and Marvin (2013) on whether low carbon futures will reinforce or challenge dominant ways of organising relationships between the nation-state, regions, energy systems and the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2014
EventAssociation of America Geographers Annual Meeting 2014 - Tampa, United States
Duration: 08 Apr 201412 May 2014


ConferenceAssociation of America Geographers Annual Meeting 2014
CountryUnited States


  • energy
  • territorialisation
  • devolution


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