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FRISAM-Fri prosjektstøtte samfunnsvitenskap

Energy, Industry and Politics: Energy-technology as the Driver of (Sustainable) Economic Growth -- Past, Present and Future

Awarded: NOK 1.8 mill.

A number of books have been written on the extraction and use of different natural resources: Coal, cod, tobacco, salt, etc. Also, there exists a rather technical literature on energy/energy production. But there are few books dealing with the production of energy on a more general level and its importance for industrial and economic growth, and very few books indeed deal with the politics behind energy extraction and industrial growth. On the face of it, the link between energy and economic growth is ob vious. But if we look at the politics of energy and industry, it is not. In my doctorate and my book I focus on five core growth industries over five time periods. A main point is that growth industries are always contingent on politics and on states maki ng an effort to pursue policies of structural economic change. For this project, I wish to take it one step further. Conspicuous for each of the industries described in my book, is that growth coincides with the discovery and extraction of a new source of cheap and abundant energy. Hence, for the proposed project, I will be looking into the symbiosis between energy and industry. Without new sources of energy, structural change and renewed industrial growth would have been impossible. But also, without n ew industries, the need for new sources of energy would have been modest. And as importantly; these processes did not take place by themselves, but were politically contingent. The developments whereby resource extraction and industrial growth propelled c ountries forward happened in some countries, and not in others. This project will look further into why it happened somewhere, but not everywhere. Finally, the current environmental situation invites a focus on renewable energy/industry. I propose that r enewable energy/industry may play the same role as previous energy sources in the sense that future growth will suffer unless we can come up with a new and emissions-free purveyor of energy.

Funding scheme:

FRISAM-Fri prosjektstøtte samfunnsvitenskap