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Title: Competitiveness and specialism in the UK electricity generation industry since privatisation
Author: Scott, John Neil
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 5399
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis presents the results from an Investigation, using Organisational Ecology based techniques, into the impact of public energy policy and renewables technologies on the Electricity Generators since the industry’s privatisation in 1991. At the outset, the research goal was to understand how successive UK Governments’ energy policies could use an inferential data based approach, to enable a long-range evaluation of the factors that define energy policy and the results arising from energy policy interventions. Research and detailed investigation covered the following topics. Firstly, policy instruments, policy definition, policy formulation, policy modelling and evaluation, and the associated competition and regulatory frameworks. Secondly, the electricity sector in the UK over the period from the development and implementation of the first systems and networks in the late 1800s, to the business and technical frameworks currently used for UK electricity generation, transmission, distribution and supply. Then, the technological context of the study required an in-depth understanding of energy basics, traditional and renewable electricity generation techniques, emissions control, market trading mechanisms, environmental-based climate change, emissions trading systems and standards. Finally, understanding the academic research methods and techniques, making the selection of the most appropriate investigative theories, techniques and methods that underpinned the execution of a long-range population based study covering twenty years. Once the above had been understood, the research concentrated upon the collection, of: circa 8,000 generator company vital events, 2,000 vital events for circa 570 power plants, electricity generation cost data, EU and UK government policy and legislation, policy, macro and micro financial subsidies and incentives, macroeconomic data, UK emissions data, fuel costs, and fuel usage by the UK’s Generators. The choice of the most appropriate methods and techniques utilised for the data analysis was one of the most difficult aspects of the study, but given the nature of the data, the use of organisational ecology-based theory fragments and the field’s core methods and techniques were utilised. What sets organisational ecology apart from many social science approaches, and the reason for it becoming one of the central fields in organizational studies, is the empirical quantitative approach, which uses large-scale, longitudinal focused data collections that record the vital events surrounding corporate demography. This coupled with primary data analysis based upon the use of survival statistics differentiates the technique from most others in the social sciences. Once the theoretical baseline had been determined, it was necessary to prepare the research questions, develop the proposed theories, and develop the hypotheses to conduct the detailed research. The core research constructs adopted were: energy policy objectives and policy instrument evaluation, assessment of how market competition has been impacted by energy policy and renewables technologies and lastly determining how market competition in the electricity industry was impacted by energy policy and renewables technology. The thesis concludes with a discussion of how the research: makes a contribution to theory, makes a contribution to academic practice, makes a contribution to business practice, makes a contribution to my own work, identifies areas for further research, discusses my reflective thoughts on the doctoral journey, and finally presents my own thoughts and evaluation of the work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available