Planning, infrastructure and low carbon energy

Authored by: Matthew Cotton

The Routledge Companion to Environmental Planning

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  July  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138894808
eBook ISBN: 9781315179780
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315179780-26

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Abstract

Within the energy sector, action on climate change requires rapid technological adaptation of electricity generation and transmission systems to meet low carbon policy goals. However, the translation of low carbon policy strategy into specific infrastructure projects, such as wind farms, nuclear power stations or overhead transmission lines, is often fraught with political contestation at the level of local development planning. This chapter reviews European policy shifts to low carbon electricity generation and the different ways in which this has been interpreted in national law by European Member States. It then considers how the political desire for rapid technological transition influences the scalar politics of energy planning. Specifically, the chapter discussed how changes in the nature of state regulation and planning systems for major infrastructure projects creates potential democratic deficits within planning systems, reduces opportunities for public participation in decision making and ultimately leads to social opposition from locally affected communities and elevated contestation of planning applications. It therefore behoves policy makers to alleviate democratic deficits in local planning for energy infrastructure in order to meet climate goals as rapidly as possible.

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