Broadcast: Events

Investable Infrastructures? Financing the Offshore Wind Boom

Friday 22 November 13:00 until 15:00
JUB - G32
Speaker: Sarah Knuth - Durham University
Part of the series: SPRU Friday Seminars


Today’s accelerating boom in offshore wind development, in the United Kingdom, United States and globally, poses a crucial unanswered question for scholars of infrastructure and its fast-changing political and economic geographies in the 21st century: as major infrastructure provisioning is increasingly shaped by the instruments and imperatives of transnational investors, what are the prospects for stable and sufficient development of offshore generation sites and industries? Emerging research on Anglo-American project finance, ‘tax-equity’ mining and other renewable energy investment practices has raised concerns about financing bottlenecks, high costs of capital for would-be wind developers and the affordability and grid-competitiveness of the energy they generate. Meanwhile, secular stagnation, ‘yield gaps’ and other systemic challenges facing institutional investors suggest the potential for underexamined risks and future volatility – a major concern for wind developers and programs reliant upon their funding. Key questions include: how do imperatives of ‘investability’ now shape what kinds of projects are built, where and for whom? What rents are extracted in the process? Conversely, what public or private financing alternatives are now emerging? Answering such questions is vital for the long-term sustainability of the wind sector and more broadly necessary in developing just infrastructures for a planet in flux.


Sarah Knuth is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Durham University. Her research investigates the contemporary intersection of neoliberal urban strategy, new ideas in green economic development and climate change resilience, and ongoing transformations in the global financial system. In places like the United States, making cities energy efficient, low carbon, and resilient means fundamentally reworking existing urban geographies and modes of city building… Sarah’s current project builds on past participatory research on US urban climate change mitigation planning and local resilience, and more particularly on dissertation research she conducted in the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley

Posted on behalf of: The University of Sussex Business School
Last updated: Wednesday, 20 November 2019