Europeanization through diffusion? – Renewable energy policies and alternative sources of European convergence

Busch, Per-Olof and Helge Jörgens 2012: Europeanization through diffusion?. Renewable energy policies and alternative sources of European convergence. In: Francesco Morata and Israel Solorio (eds.): European energy policy. The environmental dimension. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 66-84.

In recent decades, cross-national policy clustering has become a distinctive feature of international and European environmental policy-making. Since the late 1960s, virtually every country in the world has created government institutions for the protection of the environment and adopted basic legislation in the areas of air pollution control, nature or water protection. This trend is even more pronounced in the group of European Union (EU) member states. Here, over the last 30 years, an impressive convergence of domestic patterns of environmental policy-making can be observed. Can a similar degree of policy clustering also be observed with regard to programs aimed at the promotion of renewable energy sources (RES)? And if so, what are the mechanisms that drive the EU-wide convergence of these programs? In order to provide an answer to these questions, this chapter examines the cross-national spread of support schemes for electricity generation from RES sources, namely mandatory feed-in tariffs (FIT) and green certificate systems, in the period from 1988 to 2005. This chapter explores the main driving forces as well as the barriers of a greater promotion of electricity from RES in the EU member states.