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Decentralising energy governance? Wales, devolution and the politics of energy infrastructure decision-making

Cowell, Richard John Westley ORCID: 2017. Decentralising energy governance? Wales, devolution and the politics of energy infrastructure decision-making. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 35 (7) , pp. 1242-1263. 10.1177/0263774X16629443

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Much can be learned about the scope for changing the trajectory of energy system development by examining the effects of governance re-scaling, and how this is negotiated by prevailing regimes of energy provision. To advance this proposition, this article uses Barry's concept of ‘technological zones’ to analyse how devolution within the British state, to Wales, has affected the politicisation and organisation of electricity infrastructure decisions. The evidence presented centres on arguments about energy governance and devolution in two government inquiries. While logics of democratic accountability to Wales were asserted, along with arguments for more territorially integrated approaches to energy infrastructure decisions, the more dominant discourse emphasised swift and stable procedures to facilitate major investment and infrastructure delivery. The research shows that while intensifying place-based conflicts and pressures for governance re-scaling potentially disrupt the reproduction of infrastructural systems they do not automatically do so, which should direct our attention to the conditions which shape their politicisation.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Additional Information: Published online before print February 16, 2016 Pdf uploaded in accordance with publisher's policy at
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 0263-774X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 28 December 2015
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 20:31

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