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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number ES/T000600/1
Title Examining Offshore Wind Institutional Entrepreneurship (ExOE)
Status Completed
Energy Categories Renewable Energy Sources(Wind Energy) 50%;
Other Cross-Cutting Technologies or Research(Environmental, social and economic impacts) 50%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields SOCIAL SCIENCES (Business and Management Studies) 100%
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 50%;
Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Policy and regulation) 10%;
Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Other sociological economical and environmental impact of energy) 30%;
Other (Energy technology information dissemination) 10%;
Principal Investigator Dr O W F Fitch-Roy

Business and Management
University of Exeter
Award Type Standard
Funding Source ESRC
Start Date 01 March 2020
End Date 28 February 2023
Duration 36 months
Total Grant Value £239,026
Industrial Sectors
Region South West
Programme Training
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr O W F Fitch-Roy , Business and Management, University of Exeter (100.000%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Garrad Balfour Ltd. (0.000%)
Project Contact , Business Network for Offshore Wind (0.000%)
Project Contact , Danish Wind Industry Association (DWIA) (0.000%)
Project Contact , Fridtjof Nansen Institute (0.000%)
Web Site
Objectives Globally, offshore wind energy has the potential to provide very large volumes of clean electricity and contribute to tackling climate change while also creating new industries and contributing to productivity. However, creating the market and regulatory conditions in which private investors are able to build offshore wind farms, often described as 'mega-projects' due to their cost and complexity, is a significant organisational challenge. The primary aim of the study is to understand how the institutions that constitute offshore wind industries emerge and develop. It will produce a clearer understanding of the coordinative obstacles faced by offshore wind industries and suggest potential solutions.Specifically, the project will:1. Document or 'map' the institutional structure of offshore wind industries in the United Kingdom, Denmark and the United States2. Analyse the actors, relationships and practices involved in creating, enabling and constraining offshore wind expansion3. Identify and analyse specific instances of offshore wind institutional entrepreneurship and its role in enabling or constraining offshore wind expansion and publish findings in suitable journals4. Develop a framework for analysing offshore wind institutional entrepreneurship based on Fligstein and McAdam's Strategic Action Field approach5. Contribute to theoretical advances in Strategic Action Field theory and institutional theory more broadly through appropriate academic publication6. Achieve impact through enhanced practice of industry stakeholders and policymakers through co-design and co-production of research, and wider media dissemination and ad-hoc policy engagement7. Make use of mentoring by an established academic and suitable training to build the applicant's capacity as an expert in offshore wind industrial growth, and well-rounded academic with a clear career trajectory from early career research towards a faculty post at a UK University.
Abstract To mitigate the social and environmental impacts of climate change, global CO2 emissions must be drastically and urgently curtailed. While various future pathways to a decarbonised society are possible, analysis by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes it clear that limiting global temperature increases to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels requires major structural changes in the supply of energy. Renewable energy production will have to be expanded dramatically if it is to provide the majority of global electricity production by the middle of the century.Offshore wind turbines, the largest rotating machines ever built, have the potential to provide very large volumes of clean electricity. It is cautiously estimated that the realisable United States offshore wind resource is more than twice the current national electricity demand. In some island nations such as the UK, the resource is even more abundant. Exploiting the stronger winds found offshore will involve the creation of substantial new industries involving hundreds of thousands of workers. Often out of sight, offshore wind turbines are also less likely to provoke resistance from neighbouring communities than onshore developments. Consequently, expansion of offshore wind farms is an explicit environmental, industrial and energy policy objective in many maritime countries.But organisational and institutional factors are proving to be serious barriers to policy implementation, slowing, delaying, or preventing expansion in some, but not all, countries. Previous analysis of the UK, a leader in offshore wind, suggests that key to enabling an offshore wind industry that can deliver the desired energy is the active coordination between disparate domains by an 'interested broker' or 'system builder'. These actors strive to create new institutional forms or 'ways of doing things' - activity sometimes referred to as 'institutional entrepreneurship'.Working with carefully selected project partners, who collectively offer 38k of in-kind support, this project will study the creation of offshore wind industries and the role played by institutional entrepreneurship in enabling or constraining their growth. Empirical field-work will be carried out in three major offshore wind markets: the UK, a somewhat unexpected leader given the conflictual nature of renewable energy politics in that country; Denmark, a pioneer in offshore wind with a strong coordinative role in the energy sector for the State; and the United States where a lack of coordination between actors has contributed to stifled growth to-date.The research will add to academic understanding of organisations and public policy, specifically how motivated actors are able to shape their environment through coordinative institutional entrepreneurship. Such understanding will have value to scholars researching energy systems in the context of large-scale change towards sustainability.The knowledge created in the course of the project will also be useful to policymakers seeking more effective offshore wind policies that overcome some of the organisational and institutional challenges currently slowing deployment or driving up costs, benefiting consumers and the environment. It will also provide businesses, civil society groups and others with a clearer understanding of how offshore wind industries emerge, and their potential role in shaping them. The skills development programme will provide training in all aspects of research management including finance, project planning and execution, networking and impact. The project is also designed to develop the applicant's quantitative research skills through externally provided training, drawing on the capacity of Exeter's Q-Step quantitative data-analysis programme as well as the ESRC-funded National Centre for Research Methods. To aid the building of international collaboration networks, a one month invited visiting researcher post has also been planned

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Added to Database 25/06/21