The role of offshore wind development in the UK socio-technical transition towards a low carbon electricity system

Bagherian, Jila (2016) The role of offshore wind development in the UK socio-technical transition towards a low carbon electricity system. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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A growing recognition of anthropogenic climate change has led to carbon reduction and renewable energy targets being institutionalised within the UK’s energy policy. Meeting these targets will require a fundamental restructuring of the current electricity system to allow for the long term sustainability of electricity generation. This thesis argues that large scale electricity generation from offshore wind technology will have a key role in driving the sustainability transition within the electricity system. It is argued that the offshore wind technology, like other technologies, is embedded in wider social, political and economic institutions. This means that offshore wind is a socio-technical system and its development involves interactions between the technical and non-technical elements which are socially constructed within existing institutions. The aim of this thesis is to contribute to the understanding of the interaction between technology, institutions and actors in the sustainability transition of the electricity system.
The thesis plans to fulfil methodological insights to investigate the factors that affect the development of the offshore wind system within a socio-technical transition towards sustainability in the electricity system. For this purpose, empirical data were generated from 41 semi-structured interviews with principal decision makers in industry and local authority positions, observations of industry and government events, and industry reports and related policy document analysis. The analysis employs a novel analytical framework that draws from two established theories in the literature: the Multi-Level Perspective (MLP) and Social Construction of Technological System (SCOT), and incorporates insights from transition studies.
This thesis finds a new form of interactions between socio-technical elements of the system in the UK energy transition which leads to different transition pathways to a low carbon electricity system with regard to offshore wind development. The thesis provides a broad understanding of the development of the offshore wind system within the processes of socio-technical transition towards sustainability as well as within the UK’s energy policy. A number of policy implications and recommendations are also made of relevance to a broad academic and policy focused audience.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > Norwich Business School
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2016 12:06
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2016 12:06


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