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The political economy of renewable energy policies in Germany and the EU

[working paper]

Strunz, Sebastian; Gawel, Erik; Lehmann, Paul

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Corporate Editor Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ
Abstract In this paper, we employ a public choice perspective to analyze the development of policies for renewable energy sources (RES) in the EU in general and in Germany more specifically. In doing so, we explain the main characteristics of current RES policies in the EU by reference to the selfinterest driven motivations of voters, stakeholders and political actors. One important puzzle, which we address, is the following: How could effective RES-policies be introduced against the political opposition of fossil-fuel interest groups in the past? Via analyzing the German example in more detail, we show how over time a self-reinforcing interplay of ideological and financial RES support has emerged. Moreover, we demonstrate that observed specific design choices for EU RES policies, such as largely riskless remuneration schemes, high degrees of technology differentiation and decentralized decision-making across Member States, can be traced back to politicians’ need to balance a variety of partly opposing interests. A major benefit of the presented analysis is that it provides a realistic assessment of the challenges for RES policy reform – any reform effort critically depends on its ability to balance stakeholder interests.
Keywords energy policy; renewable energy; Federal Republic of Germany; EU; lobby; pressure group; consumer; conciliation of interests; subsidy; policy implementation
Classification Special areas of Departmental Policy; Ecology, Environment
Free Keywords public choice; support policies
Document language English
Publication Year 2015
City Leipzig
Page/Pages 21 p.
Series UFZ Discussion Papers, 12/2015
ISSN 1436-140X
Status Published Version
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike