Greater transparency needed over lobbyist influence on UK renewable energy schemes, research claims. Greater transparency is needed to understand the influence of lobbyists when delivering crucial renewable energy schemes in the UK, new research has claimed. The comprehensive new study, led by heat policy expert Richard Lowes from the University of Exeter, examined the true extent of how much influence lobbyists still wield to shape Government initiatives. Richard, a key member of Exeter’s prominent Energy Policy group, centred the research around the flagship Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) – a national scheme designed to encourage homes and businesses to switch to renewable and low-carbon heating. The study found that ‘niche actors’ – such as lobbyists and campaigners – were the most influential group during the early development stages of the RHI.
Exeter University 29th May 2019 read more »
The role of socio-political power is central to the development of policy, but systematic analyses of power associated with the development of energy policy are rare. Power is also an important yet somewhat under-researched aspect of socio-technical transitions research. The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) policy aims to increase deployment of low-carbon heat in Great Britain and begin a transformation to a low carbon GB heat system. This article analyses the socio-political power associated with the development of the RHI policy based on Lukes’ ‘dimensions of power’ approach using a methodology based on triangulation. We identify a number of policy change episodes during the development of the RHI and describe the influence of key actors on the policy. Despite the common assumption of the power of incumbents, we show that those actors with niche technological expertise, close relationships with Government actors and actors within the administration have been the most powerful drivers of policy development and change. Niche actors sped up the introduction of the RHI scheme and have also had some success in increasing relative support for biomethane injection. The power of a civil servant to slow the introduction of the domestic element of the RHI has also been identified.
Energy Policy (accessed) 30th May 2019 read more »