Chapter 8: Spain and renewable energy promotion: Europeanization upside down
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Spain’s renewable energy policy can be traced back to the 1970s, with the first legislation outlining a specific support scheme for renewable electricity issued early in the following decade. From then onwards Spain became a European forerunner in the development of renewable energy sources (RES), on one side boosted by the complementary financial support of the European Union (EU) (top-down Europeanization), but also influencing the development of the EU renewable energy policy (bottom-up Europeanization). The role of Spain as a policy-shaper helped to avoid domestic adaptational costs when the initial EU directives on RES promotion were adopted. This image of Spain as a EU forerunner endured until the economic crisis in the late 2000s came to show the structural weaknesses of the Spanish energy transition, with austerity measures shifting the national policy priorities up to the point of dismantling the previously successful support schemes. As a result, Spain is in the spotlight for risking the compliance with the EU 2020 RES targets. This chapter presents the cases of RES for electricity (RES-E) and biofuels promotion in Spain, arguing that the initial progress and subsequent backlash of domestic renewable energy policies is highly linked to Europeanization processes. It concludes that it has been the interaction between European and domestic pressures (in a changing international economic context) that led Spain to turn into a EU laggard in terms of RES promotion. Keywords: biofuels policy, economic crisis, Europeanization, renewable electricity policy, renewable energy policy, Spain, energy transition

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