In 2003, the UK Government adopted a target to reduce carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2050, a longer term commitment than is required under the Kyoto Protocol. Given that increasing low carbon generating capacity is essential to achieve the required carbon reductions, renewable energy policies are a central element of overall climate change policy. To facilitate the building of renewable capacity, greater responsibility has been placed upon the English regions, with the advent of regional sustainable energy strategies, though there remain many profound tensions between the liberalized UK energy system and the adoption of a more strategic approach to renewable energy at the regional scale. This paper uses a ‘discourse analysis’ framework to explore wind energy policy in the North West of England from the perspective of competing coalitions. In the light of this assessment, it is concluded that the implementation of national energy policy at regional and sub-regional scales can be considered as a process of coalition building, where Government is reliant on building partnership between state and non-state actors to achieve its objectives.

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