Utilities in Europe
Edited by David Coen and Adrienne Héritier
Chapter 6: The Politics for a Sustainable Energy Industry: Renewable Energy Policy in the United Kingdom and in Germany
6. The politics for a sustainable energy industry: renewable energy policy in the United Kingdom and in Germany André Suck INTRODUCTION The national energy industries, comprising the gas and electricity markets, are currently facing two challenges which require that they and their governments provide new policy solutions. One challenge is to introduce more competitive market structures into the respective sectors against the background of an internal energy market (IEM) in Europe (Cameron 2002; Glachant 2003; Matláry 1997; Pollitt 1999). The other challenge concerns the increasing relevance of sustainability strategies, which is especially due to the growing seriousness of the problem of global warming. Related to this, one pivotal strategy to combat global warming has been to increase the use of renewable energy technologies (RETs) in electricity generation (Baentsch 1997; Eyre 1998; Groscurth and Weinreich 1998). Renewable energy technologies comprise generation installations that use non-fossil resources, which are unendingly available (for example, solar energy, geothermal energy, biomass, wind and hydro) and do not cause climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide (CO2); they therefore represent sustainable forms of energy generation. Despite the fact that, since the early 1990s, both the United Kingdom and Germany have had public policies supportive of bringing RETs onto the market, the increased energy capacity generated from renewable resources in the two countries reveals striking differences. In Germany, since 1990 it has been possible to increase the share of energy generation from renewable sources significantly, by 40 per cent (Staiß 2000). In the electricity market,...
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