Ronan Bolton

Jul 24, 2023

Making Energy Markets

The Origins of Electricity Liberalisation in Europe

Palgrave Macmillan 2022

Ronan Bolton's book Making Energy Markets: The Origins of Electricity Liberalisation in Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022) charts the emergence and early evolution of electricity markets in western Europe, covering the decade from the late 1980s to the late 1990s. Liberalising electricity marked a radical deviation from the established paradigm of state-controlled electricity systems which had become established across Europe after the Second World War. By studying early liberalisation processes in Britain and the Nordic region, and analysing the role of the EEC, the book shows that the creation of electricity markets involved political decisions about the feasibility and desirability of introducing competition into electricity supply industries. Competition introduced risks, so in designing the process politicians needed to evaluate who the likely winners and losers might be and the degree to which competition would impact key national industries reliant on cross-subsidies from the electricity sector, in particular coal mining, nuclear power and energy intensive production. The book discusses how an understanding of the origins of electricity markets and their political character can inform contemporary debates about renewables and low carbon energy transitions.

Ronan Bolton is a Reader in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies at the University of Edinburgh, and the Co-director of the UK Energy Research Centre. His work examines the interconnected policy, market and regulatory challenges of transforming carbon based energy systems. His particular research interests are focused in the areas of energy network regulation and system integration, along with the the history and development of liberalisation processes in the energy sector.


Filippo De Chirico studies History and Politics of Energy at Roma Tre University (Italy).

Listen to more episodes on:

Your Host

Filippo De Chirico

Filippo De Chirico is a PhD student in History and Politics of Energy at Roma Tre University (Italy).
Learn More

Also Hosted By Filippo De Chirico