Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Reconfiguring energy flows: energy grid-lock and the role of regions in shaping electricity infrastructure networks

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-03-14, 12:16 authored by Carla De LaurentisCarla De Laurentis, Richard Cowell
This paper investigates how a regional perspective can offer an insightful frame to examine the distribution of agency in energy transitions, with particular reference to the widespread problem of restructuring electricity grid networks to accommodate the expansion of renewable energy. Understanding governance and agency in this sphere requires a conceptual framework that can capture the layered nature of infrastructure and the functional and territorial mismatches between network governance and other governmental arenas. Thus, this paper adopts Barry’s concept of ‘technological zones’ and uses it to examine grid capacity challenges and prospective solutions in two Italian regions. The paper investigates how regional governments can exploit the techno-economic opportunities and fixities to develop energy network solutions in their administrative territories and shows the nature (albeit partial) and reach of regional-level agency. The findings highlight that regions should not only be seen as a layer of governance but as sites of problems – and action – which spark innovations. We argue that while the regional-level has had a modest influence in the regulation of network infrastructure in the chosen cases, regions have had a role in rendering their territory, directly or indirectly, available for infrastructural investment and in mediating potential constraints.


Published in

Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning


Taylor & Francis


  • VoR (Version of Record)


De Laurentis, C. and Cowell, R. (2021) 'Reconfiguring energy flows: energy grid-lock and the role of regions in shaping electricity infrastructure networks', Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, pp.1-16.

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Management

Cardiff Met Authors

Carla De Laurentis

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Welsh Centre for Business and Management Research

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  • © The Authors


  • en

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