City University of Hong Kong

A new book with great insights published by Dr. Scott Valentine

Wind Power Politics and PolicyWind Power Politics and Policy
Oxford University Press

Scott Victor Valentine
Associate Professor
Department of Public Policy and
School of Energy and Environment
City University of Hong Kong


Wind power advocates are grappling with a conundrum. On the one hand, as the most commercially viable form of utility scale renewable energy, the wind power industry has experienced in excess of ten-fold growth in total installed capacity over the past decade. On the other hand, installed wind power capacity still accounts for less than 3% of global electricity generation capacity despite the prevalence of studies which indicate that in certain situations wind power can be a cheaper form of electricity than most fossil fuel alternatives. Given the global imperative to facilitate an expedient transition away from CO2-intensive energy technologies and the commercial viability of wind power, what is stopping the wind power industry from capturing higher market shares around the world?

Wind Power Politics and Policy strives to shed light on the barriers and catalysts to wind power development by employing a Political SET analysis to investigate wind power diffusion. A Political SET analysis permits a methodological approach to documenting social, technical, economic and political (STEP) forces which influence the pace, scale and scope of wind power diffusion. In Wind Power Politics and Policy, the Political SET analysis is applied to six national case studies. The first pair of nations (Denmark and Germany) are mature nations in terms of wind power development. Both possess high levels of installed wind power capacity; and as such, studying wind power diffusion in these nations provides insight into what needs to be managed to succeed in fostering enhanced wind power development. The second pair of nations (China and the United States) are up and coming stars in regard to wind power development. Thanks to explosive diffusion rates, these two nations currently lead the world in installed wind power capacity, and they are expected to extend their dominance in wind power diffusion over the next decade. Understanding how these two nations facilitated such stunning progress in wind power diffusion will provide insight into the challenge of catalyzing a transition away from conventional energy. The final pair of nations (Canada and Japan) represent nations that have under-performed in wind power diffusion. By investigating some of the barriers to wind power development in these laggard nations, we can gain further insight into what hinders an otherwise desirable energy sector transformation.

The concluding chapter of Wind Power Politics and Policy draws the content from all the case studies together, summarizes the variables which influence wind power diffusion and highlights the inter-dependencies between these variables. The intent is to leave the reader with a clear idea of the elements which need to be managed in order to ensure that the pace, scale and scope of wind power diffusion is optimized.

For policymakers, wind power developer, advocates of the technology and concerned citizens, Wind Power Politics and Policy provides greater insight into how nations can harness wind power for a better future.


Advance Praise for the Book

Professor Marilyn Brown
School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology, Author of "Climate Change and Global Energy Security: Technology and Policy Options", 2007 Nobel Laureate

The book describes a dilemma wrapped in a paradox. The paradox is that the world needs to decarbonize its electricity sector, yet clean and competitive wind power is struggling. That creates the dilemma: will the world embrace the opportunity to generate carbon-free electricity and address the changing climate or will it continue on its unsustainable path forward? Scott Valentine's book explains the electricity resource choices made by six influential nations (the U.S., China, Japan, Germany, Denmark and Canada). The history of wind power development in these nations is explained through a Political SET (social, environment, technological) framework which provides comprehensive insight into forces that either enable or bar wind power development. This book provides a clear idea of what must be managed in order for wind power development to meet its potential in a timely manner.

Professor Kishore Mahbubani
Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, former President of the UN Security Council, Author of "The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World."

Climate change can no longer be denied. Humanity has to act quickly and decisively to deal with it and mitigate its impact. We have to give up our addiction to fossil fuel and find alternative power sources. Surprisingly, little attention has been paid to wind power as a viable alternative. Scott Valentine's book therefore could not be more timely and more relevant for a planet in peril. He explains lucidly how wind power can give us new hope.

Professor Michael Howlett
Chair Professor, Department of Political Science, Simon Fraser University, Author of "Designing Public Policy: Principles and Instruments"

If you must choose only one book to help understand the dynamics and potential of wind power in the contemporary energy mix, this is it. Valentine provides a succinct overview of the technologies and issues facing the sector and detailed cases studies of countries such as Germany, Denmark Canada, Japan, China and the United States which show the factors and variables which have resulted in some of these countries being world leaders in wind power and others laggards. This is a first class work, engaging and readable yet detailed and sophisticated in its approach and findings.

Professor Frank Fischer
Professor, Department of Political Science, Rutgers University, Author of "Reframing Public Policy: Discursive Politics and Deliberative Practices"

As the climate change crisis makes clear, the transition to clean energy is the challenge of this century. An important component of a renewal energy mix will be wind power. But there is nothing certain about this development. This book helps us sort out the complex issues associated with this important source of renewable energy. I highly recommend it.