Clean energy technology and path creation: The lack of a geographical approach to energy transition policy in the UK.

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


This paper examines the potential contribution of UK regions for developing and deploying renewable energy technologies to achieve the government target of obtaining 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. The paper argues for a multi-scalar approach to energy transition theory and policy. National-scale processes and policies need to be complemented by regional and local policies in order to discover and incorporate meso-level sources of renewable energy, recognize that niche or path creation is a geographically localized process and mobilize heterogeneous, local actors around common regional energy visions to improve implementation of renewable energy projects. After critically reviewing the main theoretical approach to energy transitions, the multi-level perspective, the paper employs patent data to describe the comparative position of UK regions in the renewable energy sector and examines the success of Danish, German and Spanish regions resulting from strong government intervention at the national level supplemented by region-specific strategies. A number of policy strengths and shortcomings are identified in the evolutionary trajectory of the UK energy system including weak technology push and policy pull factors. Finally, the paper reviews existing regional renewable energy policy and speculates on the potential impact of recent changes in spatial and energy policies on the ability to deploy and develop renewable energy sources in the UK.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791 - 816
JournalEuropean Planning Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 507026 Economic geography

Cite this