Chapter 2: EU renewable energy policy: a brief overview of its history and evolution
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The European Union’s (EU) renewable energy policy has been in the making for decades. Its early history consisted of small and incremental steps dating back to the 1970s. From the late 1990s onwards, however, in the wake of the single market agenda and the establishment of an international climate change regime, more significant policy developments were put into motion. This chapter retraces the evolution of EU renewable energy policy, from limited sectorial attempts to promote renewable energy sources (RES) to the creation of one of the most comprehensive programmes for supporting RES development worldwide. It focuses on the historical evolution of the European governance structures for RES promotion, including both the electricity (RES-E) and transport (RES-T) sectors, following a chronological approach. Special attention is paid to the tension between attempts to centralize renewable energy governance at the EU level and the preferences of several member states for a flexible framework that allows for a wide range of national support policies. The chapter argues that, although the 2009 renewable energy directive (RED) represented a leap forward in terms of the Europeanization of national renewable energy policies, centralization has been only partial and has not gone unchallenged, as shown by the debates on the 2030 RES targets and the subsequent revision of the RED. Keywords: biofuels policy, energy policy, European Union, renewable electricity policy, renewable energy policy

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