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Governance barriers to sustainable energy transitions – Assessing Ireland’s capacity towards marine energy futures

Lange, Marcus, Anne Marie O'Hagan, Robert R.N. Devoy, Martin Le Tissier, Valerie Cummins. 2018. Governance barriers to sustainable energy transitions – Assessing Ireland's capacity towards marine energy futures. Energy Policy, 113: 623–632.


Marine energies (ME), including offshore hydcrocarbons along with marine renewable energies (MRE), such as offshore wind, wave and tidal energy, are increasingly important in the future energy mix of many nations. We observe that ME governance is complex, as development offshore involves engagement and may often result in conflict.

This paper examines the Irish case, where offshore gas and oil remain relatively undeveloped, and yet have provoked extensive controversy. Moreover, Ireland exhibits very ambitious plans for MRE developments. Against a background, where ME development seems to have stalled, the objective of the paper is to analyse the Irish governance setup and its capacity to deliver ME and whether the current system is equipped to enable transition to MREs. Current governance systems lack efficacy in terms of policy integration and enforcement, government oversight, and public trust due to past failures. Although, management approaches have been developed to address some of the barriers, domains such as policy/regulation, industry development and public engagement are disconnected.

Results presented may not simply be generalised, as each country context is different. An analysis of examples with similar issues must focus on studying the context of the governance setup and balances of power across domains.

The article is available here.

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