Explaining the Adoption of Renewable Energy Policies

36 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2013

Date Written: November 25, 2013


Many advanced industrialized countries have, in recent years, experienced a significant expansion of energy production from renewables. Yet we know quite little about the dynamics of the underlying policy-choices in this area. Using new data on adoptions and changes in Feed-In Tariff and Green Certificate schemes in 26 advanced industrialized countries over 20 years, we examine both domestic driving forces as well as international determinants. The findings suggest that three factors play a particularly important role in pushing countries towards market-based support systems: characteristics of the existing energy supply system, a federalist structure of the political system, and EU membership. Particularly noteworthy is the finding that higher shares of fossil and nuclear energy in the national energy supply as well as higher CO2 intensity of the economy do not, as we had expected, stand in the way of policies for supporting renewables. To the contrary, they increase the likelihood of a country adopting such policies. We also find, howewer, that higher economic growth and higher growth in solar and wind energy capacity tend to reduce the political appetite for reforms of existing schemes.

Keywords: Renewable energy policy, Feed-in tariffs, Green certificate system

Suggested Citation

Schaffer, Lena M. and Bernauer, Thomas, Explaining the Adoption of Renewable Energy Policies (November 25, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2359435 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2359435

Lena M. Schaffer (Contact Author)

ETH Zürich ( email )

Haldeneggsteig 4
Zürich, 8092

Thomas Bernauer

ETH Zurich ( email )

Center for Comparative and International Studies
Building IFW, office 45.1, Haldeneggsteig 4
Zurich 8092, 8092
+41 44 632 6466 (Phone)
+41 44 632 1289 (Fax)

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