Renewable energy policies in Europe: Converging or diverging?

Lena Kitzing, Catherine Mitchell, Poul Erik Morthorst

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    Nations today are urgently challenged with achieving a significant increase in the deployment of renewable energies. In Europe that need has given rise to a debate about the most effective and efficient support strategy. Whilst the different interests debate whether full European harmonisation or strengthening of national support policies for electricity from renewable energy sources (RES-E) is the best way forward, individual national support schemes are rapidly evolving. This study investigates how the EU member states have applied support policy types over the last decade. By identifying predominant developments in the application of feed-in tariffs, premiums, tradeable green certificates, tax incentives, investment grants, and financing support for specific technologies (wind, biomass, PV), this study shows that Europe is currently experiencing certain tendencies towards a ‘bottom-up’ convergence of how national policy-makers design RES-E policy supports. While some outliers remain, the policy supports of most countries become more similar in the policy types applied (dominance of feed-in tariffs) and in their scope of implementation (differentiation for installation sizes and ‘stacking’ of multiple instruments). These trends in national decision-making, which show tendencies of convergence, could make an EU-driven ‘top-down’ harmonisation of support either dispensable or at least (depending on the agreement) less controversial.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEnergy Policy
    Pages (from-to)192-201
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Renewable energy policy
    • Harmonisation
    • Europe


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