CICERO researchers Elin Lerum Boasson and Merethe Dotterud Leiren have edited a new book about support schemes for renewable energy, which analyses and compares policies to promote the development of renewables in six European countries.
The book was published by Routledge on 30 October and is entitled Comparative Renewables Policy: Political, Organizational and European Fields. Jørgen Wettestad from Norway’s Fridtjof Nansen Institute is also among the editors.
The book features a comparative study of renewables policies in Norway, Sweden, Germany, the UK, France, and Poland, and gives readers an in-depth insight into how the support schemes for clean energy in these countries have developed over time.
The book analyses similarities and differences between the various national support systems and shows that there is a marked distinction between the Norwegian and Swedish schemes and those in the other four countries. Whereas the support systems in Norway and Sweden are technology-neutral, their counterparts in the UK, Germany, Poland, and France are technology-specific, and thus promote a larger variety of renewable energy technologies.
“The analyses in the book show how important politics and the role of politicians have been for the expansion of renewable energy,” says Elin Lerum Boasson. She is a senior researcher at CICERO Center for International Climate Research, and an associate professor at the Department of Political Science at the University of Oslo.
Explains the EU’s role in Europe’s energy transition
“The book also shows the important role the European Union has played in promoting support schemes for renewable energy. It has contributed to deepening our understanding of the role of EU, and particularly of the European Court of Justice, in domestic policy processes,” says Boasson.
“The EU has had renewables policies since the 1990s. These have changed quite a bit over the years, and the changes have underpinned the development of varying schemes in different European countries,” she adds.
The book has been written as part of the research project REMIX, which was recently completed and was funded by the Research Council of Norway and several Nordic energy industry actors, including the Norwegian energy regulator NVE and its Swedish counterpart Energimyndigheten, industry association Energy Norway, the utility Statkraft, and the Norwegian transmission system operator Statnett.
According to Boasson, the book will be useful to everyone who is interested in understanding the ongoing energy transition to renewables, and the factors driving changes in energy and climate policies.
Useful to everyone in the electricity sector
Electricity industry actors can learn a lot from the book because it can enable them to understand all the complex factors that drive energy policy. These insights can enable them to make smarter, strategic decisions when it comes to which technologies to invest in, and where and when to invest, according to Merethe Dotterud Leiren. She is a senior researcher at CICERO and has had a special responsibility for the book’s studies on German and British energy policies.
“Politics, both on the national and on the EU level, can determine changes in the framework conditions for the power sector – not just technology and economics. What seems like the financially rational thing to do, is therefore often not the right choice,” she says.
Although the political dynamics are different in different countries, all the six countries featured in this book have seen situations where the electricity industry’s wishes were largely ignored.
“The electricity sector has experienced tremendous losses over the past couple of decades due to having invested in coal-fired power generation, and many companies were too late when it comes to investing in renewable energy technologies. If the industry had understood the dynamics of climate and energy politics earlier, some of these losses may have been avoided,” says Leiren.
The book can be downloaded for free from this website.