Local authority engagement with small and medium-sized enterprises in energy efficiency: Governance approaches used in the Energy Efficient Scotland programme

Katherine Sugar, Faye Wade, Janette Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Meeting net zero emissions targets requires co-operation of multiple actors across scales and sectors, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); research on action by SMEs to improve energy efficiency of their buildings has however been limited. This article focuses on the work of local authorities in engaging SMEs in energy efficiency initiatives. Empirical findings are from systematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with local authorities participating in the Energy Efficient Scotland pilot programme for national scale retrofit. The modes of governance conceptual framework (self-governing, governing by partnership, governing through enabling, governing by provision and governing by authority) is combined with a local government capacities framework (responsibility, political authority, finance, personnel, knowledge and energy materialities) to explore the different strategies available to local authorities. Findings reveal that local authorities utilise various modes of governing for engaging SMEs; however some governing modes (self-governing, governing through authority and governing through provision) proved more effective than others (governing through partnership and through enabling). The results demonstrate that the modes of governance used to engage SMEs in energy efficiency depend on local authority capacities. However, Scottish local authority capacities are varied, resulting in differential ability to utilise the different modes of governing. Government policy for heat in buildings therefore needs to be sensitive to the specificities of different local authorities in order to extend their capacities for engage SMEs through both direct and enabling modes of governance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Policy and Governance
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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