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Rescaling the governance of renewable energy: lessons from the UK devolution experience.

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


Richard Cowell

Geraint Ellis

Fionnguala Sherry-Brennan

David Toke


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.


COWELL, R., ELLIS, G., SHERRY-BRENNAN, F., STRACHAN, P.A. and TOKE, D. 2015. Rescaling the governance of renewable energy: lessons from the UK devolution experience. Journal of environmental policy and planning [online], 19(5), pages 480-502. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 11, 2015
Online Publication Date Feb 17, 2015
Publication Date Oct 31, 2017
Deposit Date Oct 6, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 6, 2016
Journal Journal of environmental policy and planning
Print ISSN 1523-908X
Electronic ISSN 1522-7200
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 5
Pages 480-502
Keywords Scale; Governance; Renewable energy; UK; Devolution
Public URL


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