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The application of contrast explanation to energy policy research: UK nuclear energy policy 2002–2012


  • Heffron, Raphael J.


This paper advances the application of the methodology, contrast explanation, to energy policy research. Research in energy policy is complex and often involves inter-disciplinary work, which traditional economic methodologies fail to capture. Consequently, the more encompassing methodology of contrast explanation is assessed and its use in other social science disciplines explored in brief. It is then applied to an energy policy research topic—in this case, nuclear energy policy research in the UK. Contrast explanation facilitates research into policy and decision-making processes in energy studies and offers an alternative to the traditional economic methods used in energy research. Further, contrast explanation is extended by the addition of contested and uncontested hypotheses analyses. This research focuses on the methods employed to deliver the new nuclear programme of the UK government. In order to achieve a sustainable nuclear energy policy three issues are of major importance: (1) law, policy and development; (2) public administration; and (3) project management. Further, the research identifies that policy in the area remains to be resolved, in particular at an institutional and legal level. However, contrary to the literature, in some areas, the research identifies a change of course as the UK concentrates on delivering a long-term policy for the nuclear energy sector and the overall energy sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Heffron, Raphael J., 2013. "The application of contrast explanation to energy policy research: UK nuclear energy policy 2002–2012," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 602-616.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:55:y:2013:i:c:p:602-616
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.12.046

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    Cited by:

    1. Heffron, Raphael J., 2013. "Nuclear energy policy in the United States 1990–2010: A federal or state responsibility?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 254-266.
    2. Heffron, Raphael J. & McCauley, Darren & Sovacool, Benjamin K., 2015. "Resolving society's energy trilemma through the Energy Justice Metric," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 168-176.
    3. Hall, Lisa M.H. & Buckley, Alastair R., 2016. "A review of energy systems models in the UK: Prevalent usage and categorisation," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 607-628.
    4. Heffron, Raphael J. & Johnston, Angus & McCauley, Darren & Jenkins, Kirsten, 2013. "Policy delivery for low carbon energy infrastructure in the UK, april 5th 2013: Conference overview," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1367-1369.
    5. Heffron, Raphael J. & McCauley, Darren, 2014. "Achieving sustainable supply chains through energy justice," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 435-437.
    6. repec:eee:enepol:v:108:y:2017:i:c:p:836-843 is not listed on IDEAS


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