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Expanding Renewables in Times of Crisis and Fiscal Constraint

Andreas, Jan-Justus (2017) Expanding Renewables in Times of Crisis and Fiscal Constraint. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Energy is the fundamental fuel for economic growth, yet it is also the largest emitter of greenhouse gases and a crucial driver of climate change. The promotion of clean and renewable energy sources hence stands at the core of contemporary sustainability transitions. However, such transitions depend on a supportive regulatory framework and require significant electricity grid expansions. They are consequently considered costly, burdening both governments and consumers. Nevertheless, the Europe 2020 Strategy that was introduced in 2010 as an answer to the global financial and economic crisis provided comprehensive targets for the expansion of renewables and the reduction of emission levels. However, as the EU was hit by the European Debt Crisis, member-states faced potentially contradictory policy objectives of reducing government debt levels under a policy of austerity, while rekindling economic growth and driving the expansion of renewable energy. This thesis, seeks to determine the role of the economic crisis and austerity for European renewable energy transitions. It does so through a nested-n approach that entails a comparative analysis, followed by in-depth case studies. As climate action is highly time sensitive, the thesis provides an important, topical contribution to our understanding of the under-researched relationship between the economic crisis and austerity with renewable energy and climate policy. Through its multi-level analytical approach, it identifies the complex interplay of economic, political and societal factors surrounding renewable energy transitions. The thesis highlights the overall importance of the 2020 targets in preventing a greater negative effect of the economic and financial hardship on renewables in Europe. At the same time, the analysis stresses the shortcomings of the current structure of the European energy market, and the economic and societal dangers stemming from the significant costs of the current regulatory approach.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Related URLs:
Academic Units: The University of York > Environment (York)
Depositing User: Jan-Justus Andreas
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2018 11:54
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2018 11:54
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/20493

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