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Sub-national government and pathways to sustainable energy.

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


Richard Cowell

Geraint Ellis

Fionnguala Sherry-Brennan

David Toke


In an effort to understand how to promote more sustainable forms of energy provision, researchers have begun addressing the scale of political and governance processes, yet the effects of sub-national government remain neglected. At the same time, analysts of political devolution, decentralisation and independence have rarely given attention to the energy sector. Papers in this special issue seek to better understand the relationship between sub-national government and pathways to sustainable energy: examining how city-regional and devolved governments have shaped agendas for building retrofit; elucidating the importance of decentralised governance in knitting together electricity, heat and transport energy markets; mapping the complex, fuzzy spatial organisation of legal powers to direct energy policy across multi-level polities; and analysing conflicts over the allocation of energy infrastructure consenting powers between national and devolved governments. The papers highlight the interdependencies of action in different governmental arenas, and reinforce arguments for greater central-to-local reflexivity in governance styles. Analysing the interface between sub-national government and energy transition also raises new questions about the meaning of 'sovereignty', the fragmentary nature of democratic control over energy systems, and the effects of boundaries.


COWELL, R., ELLIS, G., SHERRY-BRENNAN, F., STRACHAN, P.A. and TOKE, D. 2017. Sub-national government and pathways to sustainable energy. Environment and planning C: politics and space [online], 35(7), pages 1139-1155. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 13, 2017
Online Publication Date Sep 13, 2017
Publication Date Nov 1, 2017
Deposit Date Oct 3, 2017
Publicly Available Date Oct 3, 2017
Journal Environment and planning C: politics and space
Print ISSN 2399-6544
Electronic ISSN 2399-6552
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 7
Pages 1139-1155
Keywords Devolution; Energy; Environmental governance; Environmental sustainability; Multiscalar governance
Public URL


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