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A history of the UK renewable energy programme, 1974-88: some social, political, and economic aspects

Wilson, John Campbell (2012) A history of the UK renewable energy programme, 1974-88: some social, political, and economic aspects. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Following the global oil crisis of October 1973 the UK government funded and administered a range of R&D programmes in renewable energy. Despite the discoveries of large deposits of oil and gas in the North Sea during the late 1960s and continuing faith in nuclear energy the government was keen to explore the potential of renewable energy as what it described as an ‘insurance technology’. This thesis examines the creation and evolution of the UK renewable energy programme from 1974 until its demise prior to the privatisation of the UK’s nationalised energy industries in the late 1980s. The thesis shows the important role that social movements - in this case, the new environmentalism - played in the promotion of renewable energy in the UK. This will suggest that the programme can be seen in some senses as a tokenistic gesture by the government acting within the uncertain political, social, and economic landscape of the 1970s. This thesis shows that government decisions on renewable energy were continually driven by socio-political factors which overwhelmed the unreliable economic case for renewables at that time. This is achieved by a close historical account of the two key elements of the wider programme: the Wave Energy Programme and the Wind Energy Programme. Using a mix of the existing literature, historical archive and interviews this thesis builds a historical account of renewable energy R&D in the UK between 1974 and 1988.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: renewable energy, oil crisis, government, Salter, ETSU, new environmentalism
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Economics
Supervisor's Name: Stokes, Prof. Raymond G. and Rollings, Prof. Neil
Date of Award: 2012
Depositing User: Dr John Campbell Wilson
Unique ID: glathesis:2012-3121
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2012
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 14:04
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/3121

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