Dr David Toke

Dr David Toke
Dr David Toke
Dr David Toke


School of Social Science


David Toke was a late starter in academia. Previously he worked in journalism and school teaching. He studied for a Ph.D. at the Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) at Birmingham University before becoming a Research Fellow and then Senior Lecturer there. He joined the University of Aberdeen in 2013 as Reader.  

He has had over 50 papers published in refereed journals as well as six monograph books (all but one single-authored). His latest book, (with other co-authors) is entitled 'Nuclear Power in Stagnation: A Cultural Approach to Failed Expansion'. He has had over 3100 citations according to 'ResearchGate'. He has engaged in many research programmes funded by the ESRC (5), the EU (2), the Leverhulme Trust (2) the British Academy, and Scottish Insight.

He is now Principal Investigator for the ESRC-funded project 'Solar Power in the UK –Planning for a Sustainable Future'. This runs for two and a half years. See https://www.abdn.ac.uk/socsci/research/solar-planning/

He has also published two (soon to be three) public interest books on energy policy. He has written many influential reports for different NGOs. His work, including a report published by the World Future Council, proved to be a prime early influence (in 2007-2008) leading to the adoption of a system of feed-in tariffs for smaller renewable energy projects in the UK.  He also has produced reports published by Friends of the Earth, The Green Parties of England and Wales and Scotland and has written a number of articles for newspapers and magazines ranging from The Guardian to Energy Economist. 

His 'green energy blog' has been highly regarded since 2010, see https://davidtoke.substack.com/. Most recently he has led the formation of 100percentrenewableuk, see https://100percentrenewableuk.org/. His new public interest book is  'Energy Revolutions - profiteering versus democracy' (Pluto Press) - see https://www.plutobooks.com/9780745349268/energy-revolutions/


  • PhD Political Science 
    2001 - University of Birmingham 

    The thesis was entitled 'The Politics of Sustainable Energy'


Research Overview

  • Planning and financing of renewable energy
  • Energy Policy, various aspects of renewable energy and energy efficiency policy, nuclear power  and particularly onshore and offshore wind power focusing on planning issues and financial support mechanisms
  • Environmental policy, focusing on decision making and governance issues, including ecological modernisation theory
  • Particular theories of governance including policy network theory, usage of discourse, rational choice and interest group theory
  • Food and countryside issues, especially foxhunting and The Countryside Alliance

Current Research

My main area of academic research is to organise, as Principal Investigator, the ESRC funded project 'Solar Power in the UK - Planning for a Sustainable Future'. This began on June 1st 2023 and runs for two and a half years. The focus is on explaining how outcomes of planning applications occur with an emphasis on looking at how outcomes of debates about the applications occur. There are three other co-investigators, Jo Vergunst, Kathrin Thomas and Paula Duffy, and two Research Fellows, Constanza Concetti and Mohsin Hussain.

I am researching for a book entitled 'Energy Revolutions - profiteering versus democracy' which will be published by Pluto Press

I am also research the politics and policy of 100 per cent renewable energy systems



there were His most recent collaborations are:

a) He worked with academics form various universities to produce a Special Issue of the journal 'Environmental Politics' on the subject of the interaction of climate change and energy security. He has co-edited this Special Issue with Sevasti-Eleni Vezirgiannidou of the University of Birmingham. The Special Issue appeared in the July edition of 'Environmental Politics', and includes two papers where he is an author. See http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/fenp20/22/4#.UuzoktGPO1s


b) As mentioned earlier (see biography), he has also been collaborating with academics from Cardiff University, Queens University Belfast and Robert Gordon University on the ESRC funded project 'Delivering Renewable Energy Under Devolution' (DREUD). He is the lead author of the first output published in a journal, in the Political Quarterly. This is about renewable energy and the Scottish independence debate. See http://realfeed-intariffs.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/scottish-renewable-energy-targets-may.html This paper received considerable press attention. However, after this significant developments occurred in the UK energy policies, especially decisions taken by the UK Government concerning Electricity Market Reform, and this prompted a re-think of these conclusions. This re-think can be seen at http://issuu.com/therobertgordonuniversity/docs/the_dreud_report_2013

 c) As mentioned above he is collaborating with political scientists from Oregon State Univeristy in the USA to research the politics of advocacy of solar power.

Funding and Grants

  • Solar Power in the UK –Planning for a Sustainable Future - Principal Investigator of project funded by ESRC which began on June 1st 2023 and runs for two and a half years
  • COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION IN A JUST TRANSITION TO NET ZERO IN THE NORTH-EAST OF SCOTLAND - co-investigator of project funded by Scottish Universities Insight Institute which ran from 2021-2022
  • Leverhulme Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Production of Chemicals and Materials - co-investigator of project funded by Leverhulme Trust based at the University of Aberdeen Department of Chemical Engineering, 2018-2022
  • Delivering Renewable Energy Under Devolution (co-investigator in project funded by ESRC  which began in January 2011 and which finished at the end of January 2013)
  • SEANERGY 2020- investigating and disseminating best practice in marine spatial planning for offshore renewables (partner in 2 year ALTENER project funded by the EU which started in May 2010)
  • Offshore wind power planning issues (funded by ASSC small grant from University of Bimringham - 2009)
  • EU Renewable Directive (funded privately by commission from World Future Council- 2007-2008)
  • Feed in Tariffs and UK energy strategy (funded privately by commission form World Future Council - 2007)
  • The use of combined heat and power as a means of integrating high levels of fluctuating renewable energy sources into the electricity grid (funded through DESIRE EU FP6 programme, 2005-2007)
  • The Politics of the Countryside Alliance (funded through ESRC, 2005)
  • The Politics of Food and Farming (funded through Leverhulme Trust, 2004)
  • Accounting for the Outcome of  Windfarm Planning Applications (funded through ESRC, 2002-2005)
  • A comparison of GM food policies in EU and US (funded through British Academy, 2003)
  • The Politics of GM Food (funded through ESRC, 2001-2002)

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