Reference : Smart Transition to Renewable Energies? City-Regional Collaboration in Greater Manchester
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Unpublished conference
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Human geography & demography
Smart Transition to Renewable Energies? City-Regional Collaboration in Greater Manchester
Faller, Fabian mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Identités, Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE) >]
Regional Studies Association European Conference
Regional Studies Association
The Netherlands
[en] Making the transition to renewable, low carbon forms of energy could be the defining question of our times. Especially for complex problems like energy supply the regional scale and new forms of control, coordination and cooperation - subsumed under the term regional governance - are widely discussed both in politics (e.g. G8 conferences, Climate Summits etc.) and academia. The turn from conventional to renewable energies is one major topic of discussion. For this process of change regional governance can be seen as the best way to initiate it

With the help of a case study conducted in Greater Manchester, UK, the article concentrates on two points: (1) the development of regional governance arrangements in the light of a low-carbon agenda as mixture of path-dependent bottom-up and top-down approaches and (2) the impacts of specific constellations for regional energy development that include institutional rules, strategic behaviour of actors and strategic discourses. For the analysis of these aspects, the concept of Actor-Centred Institutionalism offers a framework to investigate the two most important dimensions: Institutions and Actors. Institutions build the framework for actors, their constellations and modes of interactions. Actors influence the constellation, which builds the ground for modes of interaction. Interactions lead to decisions, which, after implementation, modify the situation, in which actors work and that influence the actors. This circular correlation is reflected by Wiechmann’s model for strategy development analysis. Contexts of decisions, strategic discourses, and induced and autonomous strategic behaviours of actors are fundamental to his approach. Hence, within this model it is possible to analyse preconditions for the development of a strategy and deal with the question of its (attributed) importance.

In the paper I analyse in a first step the evolution of a governance arrangement for energy: starting in the 1970s with the first intercommunal City Council, via the 1990s collaborations for economic development, regeneration and revitalisation policies, reactions to the IRA bomb attack of 1996 and the bid for Olympic Summer Games 2000, to the current institutionalisations of regional governance with a special focus on renewable energy under the umbrella of a Combined Authority. In a second step I will present findings from a qualitative research. There, I focus impacts of specific actor constellations and institutional environments for the regional energy strategy. Therefor, the analysis is threefold: firstly, institutional rules for the mutual work on a regional energy strategy, secondly, strategic behaviours of actors as “mirror” for impacts of the regional governance, and thirdly, the strategic discourse within the region are reflected.

The article closes with lessons learned from the studied case. Even though historic circumstances have been very important factors, several elements for the development of an energy strategy in GM can be highlighted – with regard to contexts of strategic decision-making and the role of regional institutions, organisations and actors:
• a mutual view on development problems;
• a shared vision for the region;
• a commonly developed regional strategy;
• an awareness of the need for coordination and cooperation among different policy levels;
• a clear structure for development issues and
• systematic institutionalizations of and rules for, e.g., cooperation, negotiations, or monetary concerns.
The paper shows that city-regional collaboration can accelerate renewable energies’ adoption and help to prepare its local implementation.

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