Challenging the Path Dependence of Dominant Energy Systems
Edited by William M. Lafferty and Audun Ruud
Chapter 5: Spain: Greening Electricity While Growing the Economy
Carmen Navarro* INTRODUCTION Over the past three decades Spain has experienced profound changes related not only to its democratic consolidation, but also to socio-economic modernization. The country has successfully gone through a process of territorial devolution, the building of a welfare state, integration in the European Union (EU) and a remarkable economic development. All this has transformed Spain so signiﬁcantly that it would be unrecognizable to anyone who knew it 30 years ago. The lifestyle of Spaniards has also been altered. Patterns of behaviour and consumption and demands for well-being and comfort increasingly resemble those of Spain’s northern neighbours. As a consolidated democracy in a modern and changing society, Spain can now be safely compared with the rest of the EU. Its political institutions, administrative machinery and decision-making processes are not signiﬁcantly diﬀerent from those of other West European democracies, and its public policies have come to resemble those of other highly industrialized societies. Economically the country has enjoyed a bonanza over recent years in terms of sustained growth, relatively low inﬂation, and a reduction of unemployment that has allowed it to lessen the traditional gap that had separated it from its EU partners.1 Over a 20-year span, Spain’s per capita income has increased from 71 per cent of the European average in 1986, to more than 90 per cent of the EU-15 in 2005 (Piedraﬁta et al. 2006). Although Spain still lags a bit behind other members of the EU in certain economic and...
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