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Infrastructure projects require collaborative exploration of what is needed and what is possible. Good leadership creates the goodwill and team spirit which generate a good outcome. To develop a whole global industry – e.g., the wind industry – this has to be sustained over a wide geography and a long period of time. Developing a new sector of an industry – e.g., offshore wind energy – raises new problems, particularly problems of the size of larger wind turbines, and all the necessary subsea infrastructure. This is seriously expensive for a market limited in size. Creating a stable market helps reduce the risk but the investment required to establish the physically large factories to build these large turbines in quantity for what remains a limited market appears prohibitive.
Political science does not offer a distinct subdiscipline to address the subject of energy. Insofar as political science has addressed energy, it has focused on issues often neglected by other disciplines, notably the role of geopolitics and international relations, and the domestic politics of resource-rich states. Apart from the different subfields, we examine different approaches including realism, constructivism, liberalism and Marxism. The rise and fall and rise again of academic articles on energy in leading political science journals is reviewed and linked to exogenous forces such as the price of oil. Two distinct energy topics which have received attention are nuclear power and the oil crises of 1973–79 because of their wider geopolitical ramifications. Perhaps the most prominent or consistent thread through studies of the politics of energy is the question of energy security or energy independence. Finally, in recent years, energy has increasingly emerged as a focus for study in environmental politics and climate change politics in particular.
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