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Liberalisation and wind energy adoption in Europe

Ewijk, S. van (2013) Liberalisation and wind energy adoption in Europe.

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Abstract:The last two decades were transformative for the European electricity supply industry (ESI). Markets were liberalised and renewable energy sources took a significant share of the supply. This study relates liberalisation to the development of wind energy in the European electricity industry. It uses the multi-level perspective (MLP) to analyse the effect of liberalisation on the transition towards wind energy. The theory serves as an inspiration for a panel data analysis of electricity reform and wind energy adoption in 19 European countries. The theoretical framework is based on the multi-level perspective on technological transitions (TT) (Geels, 2002). The MLP conceptualizes three levels that matter to TT. Technological innovation originates at the niche level where particular applications of the technolo- gies enable maturation. If sufficiently mature, the technology may enter the regime level where technologies are applied on a large scale and on a competitive basis. The regime describes the electricity supply industry from generation to transmission, distribution and retail. Finally, at the landscape level, neoliberal thinking affects the regime by imposing liberalisation measures. The hypotheses on the effect of separate liberalisation measures on the degree of wind energy adoption are tested by means of panel data analysis. Liberalisation is captured as a set of seven measures with scores according to their level of implementation. Wind en- ergy adoption is described by shares of wind in national electricity production and shares in electric capacity. The control variables describe the relevant dimensions of the regime, niche and landscape levels that influence wind development. A fixed effects test shows correlations between liberalisation and wind energy shares. The descriptive analysis reveals that privatisation was introduced rather independently of other measures. The explanatory analysis shows that third party access, wholesale markets and privatisation have mostly positive effects on wind energy adoption. An independent regulator negatively affects wind shares. For unbundling, the results are ambiguous. Retail markets for industry negatively affect wind energy whereas full retail markets have no significant effect. The explanatory power of the outcomes may be compromised due to a small sample size, rather crude data and mono-method bias. Future research may focus on other renewables like solar and biomass, the nexus between liberalisation, renewable energy development and sectoral policy, or the combined appli- cation of the multi-level perspective and quantitative methods on other technological transitions. The results of this study can be an inspiration or guide for understanding technological transitions, combining qualitative and quantitative methods or designing energy policy and regulation.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration
Programme:Public Administration MSc (60020)
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