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Re-scaling the governance of renewable energy: lessons from the UK devolution experience

Cowell, Richard John Westley ORCID:, Ellis, G., Strachan, P., Toke, D. and Sherry-Brennan, Fionnguala 2017. Re-scaling the governance of renewable energy: lessons from the UK devolution experience. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning 19 (5) , pp. 480-502. 10.1080/1523908X.2015.1008437

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Efforts to rescale governance arrangements to foster sustainable development are rarely simple in their consequences, an out-turn examined in this paper through an analysis of how the governance of renewable energy in the UK has been impacted by the devolution of power to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Theoretically, attention is given to the ways in which multiple modes of governing renewable energy, and the interactions between modes and objects of governance, together configure the scalar organization of renewable energy governance. Our findings show how the devolved governments have created new, sub-national renewable energy strategies and targets, yet their effectiveness largely depends on UK-wide systems of subsidy. Moreover, shared support for particular objects of governance—large-scale, commercial electricity generation facilities—has driven all the devolved government to centralize and expedite the issuing of consents. This leads to a wider conclusion. While the level at which environmental problems are addressed can affect how they are governed, what key actors believe about the objects of governance can mediate the effects of any rescaling processes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Additional Information: Published online: 17 Feb 2015
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1523-908X
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 11 January 2015
Last Modified: 21 May 2023 16:05

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