Renewable energy pioneers are threatened by EU policy reform

Highlights

Policy-push and market-pull drivers have been used to promote EU renewable energy penetration.

RE actors perceive that there is a need for EU policy reform.

The EU suggests a new policy framework towards a pan-European RE target, new energy governance system and innovation initiatives.

New EU suggestions seem to bring over a balance between push and pull factors.

However EU suggestions also reflect the differentiated capacity of Member States.

The degree of market intervention, rather than the balance of push and pull factors, is what matters for the actors.

Reduction of market manipulation may threaten the continued involvement of pioneering actor types.

Abstract

The European Commission is reforming renewable energy (RE) policy to promote European competitiveness and RE penetration but also to phase-out financial subsidies for mature RE technologies. Optimising policy can be framed in the balance of Market Pull (MP) and Policy Push (PP) factors. The role of this paper is to determine the diversity of perceptions of energy actors, how that diversity relates to the balance of MP and PP and how this is likely to influence the ongoing policy reform process. A European survey was implemented and a total of 108 responses were received. A majority of actors (>75%) thought that there was a need for new EU RE policy. Four robust clusters of actors were identified. Further analysis demonstrated that the balance of MP and PP factors were not important in distinguishing between these clusters. The analysis concluded that levels of market intervention are the primary axis of difference according to energy actors’ opinions. These results have consequences for intended policy shifts in the EU RE sector, as the reduction of market intervention could mean that some of the “RE pioneers” may leave the sector which would impact on further RE penetration and EU competitiveness.

Keywords

  • EU policy reform;
  • Renewable energy actors;
  • Market intervention;
  • Policy push;
  • Market pull

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