The application of municipal renewable energy policies at community level in Denmark: A taxonomy of implementation challenges

Jens-Phillip Petersen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The implementation of national renewable energy targets requires policies at the local level. Communities are considered as key arenas of transforming policies into actions, where technical configurations intersect with socioeconomic interests. Local governments put great efforts into developing and applying energy strategies. Although many frontrunner projects are well-documented, insufficient attention is paid to the average-performing municipalities that are challenged in linking technical energy scenarios with socioeconomic realities.
The following implementation gap between national policy and local practice leads to a non-attainment of national energy targets. This paper analyses the Strategic Energy Plans (SEP) of 17 Danish municipalities based on their development, scope, and inclusion of local communities. As a synopsis, the main technical, physical, organizational and socioeconomic challenges for local energy policy implementation were illustrated. Internal organization, lacking municipal capacities, combined with the complexity of communities leads to procedural deficits in strategy production. The resulting neglect of socioeconomics and other community peculiarities by technology-driven strategies impede strategy implementation. As a consequence, a community-oriented taxonomy of implementation challenges is introduced. This approach might help to improve the scope of SEPs, ensure a local anchoring of energy strategies, and raise awareness for challenges already present during strategy production to facilitate strategy implementation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
Pages (from-to)205-218
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Renewable energy policy
  • Municipal energy strategies
  • Community energy
  • Local communities


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