Offshore wind is an increasingly mature technology that has a central role to play in the energy transition in the critical decade for climate change. Offshore wind technologies have developed rapidly – including in the UK – as they offer large volumes of renewable electricity at competitive prices while being less subject to local opposition. Yet, they also require large infrastructure developments, conducive policy and regulatory environments, and have often been contested on environmental, economic, or aesthetic grounds. The project will investigate the governance issues associated with offshore wind (e.g. infrastructure siting, regulation, public participation) to better understand and navigate them. How have these challenges been addressed in different political and regulatory contexts? What lessons can be drawn for future developments?
The research will be comparative, including a case study of the East of England – a major area for offshore wind in the UK – and in-depth analysis of other experiences from across the world, depending on your geographical interests and language skills. For that purpose, you will (a) collate and analyse (quantitatively and/or qualitatively) a new comparative database of issues and stakeholder positions based on documentary analysis (including policy, business and media sources) and (b) undertake in-depth interviews with national and local stakeholders (energy companies, planning authorities, NGOs), elected representatives and citizens.
This PhD provides you with the opportunity to develop your skills in the collection of original social science data, documentary analysis and interviewing, scientific writing, and communicating research insights to academic and policy audiences. You will receive relevant research training through UEA DTPs and advanced training at specialised methods schools (e.g. Essex). You will be associated with the world leading Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the interdisciplinary Centre for Competition Policy, which has an extensive track record of research and engagement on energy policy and regulation.
You will have a demonstrable interest in energy and climate politics and policy-making; a degree in Politics, Business, Geography, Sociology or equivalent subjects; experience in independent qualitative/quantitative empirical research (e.g. through completion of a dissertation); and would like to join a dynamic interdisciplinary team.
This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Critical Decade for Climate Change programme. You can find more information about the programme and details of how to apply on our website.