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Thomas Vogelpohl, Dörte Ohlhorst, Mischa Bechberger and Bernd Hirschl

Germany has widely been regarded as a European forerunner in terms of the transformation towards an energy system with a high share of renewable energy sources (RES). This is mainly due to innovative domestic policies that have been adopted to increase the share of RES, and that have been relatively successful in both the electricity and the transport sector. However, these pioneering RES policies were not only appreciated in Europe, but also led to conflicts at the European Union (EU) level. Recent developments in Germany’s domestic RES policy suggest that the country might vacate its position as a European forerunner in this policy area. This chapter asks how Germany was able to establish, promote and sustain its pioneering RES policies vis-à-vis both the supranational EU level and other member states, and how the recent development of these policies has been shaped by horizontal and vertical interaction. Building on the analytical framework of Europeanization research, the authors find that Germany’s interaction with the EU and other member states shows traits of different types of Europeanization, but was mainly characterized by its position of an independent pioneer in RES policy. Germany promoted the horizontal Europeanization of its RES policies, particularly in the electricity sector, while simultaneously shaping European RES policy in both sectors in a foot-dragging way in order to sustain room for manoeuvre at the national level and safeguard its RES policies against vertical harmonization efforts. Recently, however, Germany has been jeopardizing its pioneer position, and top-down Europeanization is increasingly affecting its domestic RES policies. Keywords: biofuels policy, Europeanization, forerunner, Germany, renewable electricity policy, renewable energy policy

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Bernd Hirschl, Timo Kaphengst, Anna Neumann and Katharina Umpfenbach