Policies, actors and sustainability transition pathways: A study of the EU’s energy policy mix
TIKs Marie Byskov Lindberg and Allan Dahl Andersen have recently published an article in Research Policy, together with Jochen Markard from the Group for Sustainability and Technology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.
Policies and politics are crucial elements of sustainability transitions. Transition pathways unfold as a result of continuous struggles of actors over policy goals and instruments. Taking a policy mix perspective, we study policies and policy preferences of key industry actors in the ongoing energy transition at the level of the European Union. We introduce two central analytical dimensions for transition pathways: the degree of sustainability (here: renewable energy ambition) and the degree of disruption (here: whether to pursue centralized or decentralized energy system configurations). We find that the current EU energy policy mix is heterogeneous with respect to the issue of (de-)centralization, whereas most policies and actors express high or moderate ambitions for renewable energy. Our paper makes three contributions. It demonstrates how actors and policy preferences can be explicitly included in the study of policy mixes. To the literature on transition pathways, we introduce sustainability as another key dimension in addition to disruption. Lastly, we propose a novel methodology for analyzing the politics of transition pathways.
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