Shaping blue growth: Social sciences at the nexus between marine renewables and energy policy

Sandy Kerr*, Laura Watts, Ruth Brennan, Rhys Howell, Marcello Graziano, Anne Marie O'Hagan, Dan van der Horst, Stephanie Weir, Glen Wright, Brian Wynne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Citations (Scopus)


The development of the Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) industry is part of the EC Blue Growth Strategy. It brings together a range of relationships across people, sea, and energy, from developers to local communities and policymakers. This calls for diverse approaches, moving beyond an oppositional mindset to one that can establish an inclusive community around MRE development. Ownership of the marine environment is a legal issue, but MRE devices operate within a cultural and emotional sense of place. Early, sustained community engagement and advocacy is crucial to developing an industry whose impacts are likely to be felt before its social benefits materialise. Crucially, local communities could be supported by Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) research in creating new mythologies and imaginaries through which MRE technologies become an integral part of their culture, as well as part of their biophysical environment. A complex physical, political, and legal environment provides the context for these new marine energy technologies, and its development provides opportunities for SSH research to address issues around the sea and to integrate into the design of new marine energy seascapes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvancing Energy Policy
Subtitle of host publicationLessons on the Integration of Social Sciences and Humanities
EditorsChris Foulds, Rosie Robison
PublisherPalgrave Pivot
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783319990972
ISBN (Print)9783319990965
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Communities
  • Disparities
  • Engagement
  • Marine energy
  • Mythologies
  • Tidal
  • Wave

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)


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