This article has an empirical focus on energy transition using the emerging offshore renewable energy (ORE) industries in the context of global governance. First, it explores and assesses pertinent discussions on sustainability and transformation within energy systems and the marine space. Then, it studies potential policy linkages within ORE governance which, although relying on clearly defined objectives and targets (e.g. climate change mitigation, increased share of renewable energy, energy security), could translate into polycentricity and institutional complexity/fragmentation. Previous research has focused on the technical, legal and policy challenges of deploying ORE technologies, however there is not any systematic review of who are its global governors. Certainly, the importance of the International Renewable Energy Agency and other renewable energy intergovernmental institutions has not been overlooked. Nevertheless, there are other international organisations whose mandate extends beyond renewable energy and several non-state actors who claim a role in ORE governance. This article puts forward a comprehensive analysis of the institutional architecture of global ORE governance with emphasis on the EU in order to shed a light on how ORE is being governed and who is involved. Results should advance knowledge on the scope, type and function of the institutions currently governing the exploration and exploitation of offshore renewable resources.
- Policy and governance linkages between offshore renewables and other issue areas.
- Polycentricity and fragmentation occur within ORE governance.
- ORE is governed by state and non-state actors with overlapping functions.
- Institutions dealing with wind or ocean energy exclusively are private-led.
- Coordination needed among public institutions with ORE overlapping mandates.