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Title: Can we keep the lights on? : investment, regulation & sustainability in the UK electricity industry
Author: Warren, Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 1249
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2013
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The United Kingdom (UK) electricity generation industry is shrouded in uncertainty, particularly as a consequence of new environmental regulations. Using a longitudinal case study, this thesis analyses how, following the introduction of the Large Combustion Plant Directive – LCPD, the industry used investment appraisal techniques to strategically mobilise power and effect change to UK policy. Through the use of interpretive research and drawing on the ontological framework of structuration, this thesis will interpret how actors1 used the rules and resources associated with investment appraisal techniques to manage the balance of power. Although the LCPD directive was a ‘command and control’ regulation, the generators were able to use the existence of contradictory structures, the absence of resources, and weak rules to negotiate a significant consultation process to effect policy change. Their actions resulted in the introduction of the 2011 Whitepaper ‘Energy Market Reform’ (DECC, 2011). This study will analyse those actors who take part in the decision making process by examining how environmental directives, such as the Pollution and Prevention Control (PPC) and the LCPD, were implemented within the UK and their consequences. This process will reveal how industry reluctance to commit capital to developing new technology resulted in the threat of blackouts in the UK, creating a debate as to who would supply the £200 billion capital required. This study identifies the complex struggle for power within the generation industry set within the paradox of achieving strict environmental targets, creation of profit and the security of supply, with the winner being determined via the investment decision process. International generators demonstrated a ‘wait and see’ approach to investment, using accounting techniques to justify a strategic policy that placed them in a position of power. This power was then used as a means to provoke a discourse that enabled the generators to establish their own needs. This is not a direct study of accounting change, but of how existing accounting structures were used to facilitate a process of political and social change to establish new business models within liberalised industries; thereby lending great significance to some of the rules and resources connected to accounting.
Supervisor: Seal, William Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor ; HJ Public Finance