Grassroots Action and the Politics of Energy Governance in Scotland
Elizabeth Bomberg and Nicola McEwen have been awarded close to £90,000 from the UK Energy Research Council to study 'Grassroots Action and the Politics of Energy Governance in Scotland'. This research project will analyse community grassroots groups in Scotland to assess whether they have an impact on community energy use and political decision making related to energy policy. It will ask: Does grassroots action influence the way we generate and use energy in our communities? Does the community level represent a new layer in the multilevel governance of energy policy? Has the network of actors traditionally involved in energy policy (including government officials, bureaucrats and representatives of core industry and certain NGOs) 'opened up' to accommodate community actors and grassroots activists?
While the research will provide an in-depth and comprehensive examination of energy-related grassroots action in Scotland, its wider aim is to integrate political science perspectives into energy research - a field still largely dominated by natural scientists and engineers. Issues of multilevel governance, political networks, policy dynamics and citizen engagement - all of central importance within political science - are crucial to the energy sector, not least because they set the boundaries within which energy policy is made and set conditions for its likely success. The study's findings will thus enhance and refine energy scholars' understanding of the concepts of energy governance, and identify the importance (or otherwise) of grassroots mobilization in supporting government efforts to reduce energy demand and promote renewable energy.