A Guide to EU Renewable Energy Policy: Comparing Europeanization and Domestic Policy Change in EU Member States.
A Guide to EU Renewable Energy Policy: Comparing Europeanization and Domestic Policy Change in EU Member States, edited by Israel Solorio and Helge Jorgens (Edward Elgar, 2017). 360 pages, ISBN 9781783471553.
This edited volume provides an exhaustive review of EU renewables energy policy over the past 40 years. In Chapter 1, the lead authors present the theoretical framework underlying the case studies. They categorize three types of policy interactions, termed "Europeanization:" bottom-up (from countries to EU), top-down (from EU to countries), and horizontal (country to country).
Chapter 2 presents a very informative history of EU renewable energy sources (RES) policy, starting from its beginnings in the late 1970s. The start consisted in "soft steps," for example, the coordination of indicative energy objectives across member countries. The first significant effort towards harmonization of RES policy took place in the context of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) in 2009, which was a cornerstone of EU energy policy. The process underlying the RED was an effort to define a post-Kyoto strategy for climate change, in which the EU took the lead, given the passivity of the United States on this issue. The RED established the now-famous "20-20-20" rules (by 2020, a 20 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions relative to 1990, a 20 percent increase in energy efficiency relative to projections in 2007, and a 20 percent share of renewables in total energy supply). These targets are binding. The burden is shared across individual member countries based on GDP per capita and early investments in RES. The RED also included a 10 percent target for RES in the transportation sector, which could be achieved in different ways (e.g., biofuels or electric cars). Currently, the EU overall and the majority of countries are on track towards achieving these goals.
In the wake of the failed Copenhagen Accord in December of 2009 and the economic and financial crises, support for renewable energy policy has decreased. The road to define 2030 targets was marked by disputes about the level of harmonization and the cost-effectiveness of different ways to combat climate change. The faction advocating for a more "technology-neutral" policy and more flexibility for member countries ended up with a majority. The result was an ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target for 2030 of 40 percent relative to 1990, combined with not particularly stringent targets of 27...
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