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Energy transitions and uncertainty: Creating low carbon investment opportunities in the UK electricity sector

Bolton, R   Foxon, T   Hall, S

Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy  

DOI: 10.1177/0263774X15619628

December 2015

This paper examines how actors in the UK electricity sector are attempting to deliver investment in low carbon generation. Low carbon technologies, because of their relative immaturity, capital intensity and low operational costs, do not readily fit with existing electricity markets and investment templates which were designed for fossil fuel based energy. We analyse key electricity market reforms and infrastructure policies in the UK and highlight how these are aimed at making low carbon technologies ’investable‘ by reducing uncertainty, managing investment risks, and repositioning actors within the electricity socio-technical ’regime‘. We argue that our study can inform contemporary debates on the politics and governance of sustainability transitions by empirically investigating the agency of incumbent regime actors in the face of uncertainty and by offering critical insights on the role of markets and finance in shaping socio-technical change.

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