Promoting Sustainable Electricity in Europe
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Promoting Sustainable Electricity in Europe

Challenging the Path Dependence of Dominant Energy Systems

Edited by William M. Lafferty and Audun Ruud

This is a timely and comparative assessment of initiatives to promote renewable electricity sources (RES-E) in eight European countries. Carried out by the ProSus research programme at the University of Oslo in cooperation with leading research institutions in each country, the book focuses on the promotional schemes used to foster RES-E in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden. The book is unique in that it monitors progress on implementing the EU RES-E Directive in relation to the impact of the ‘dominant energy systems’ in each country. Employing notions of ‘path dependency/path creation’, the analysis demonstrates that crucial lessons for promoting RES-E are to be found in the contextual conditions of national and regional settings; conditions that qualify the effects of more general, market-oriented schemes. The conclusions reached are of direct relevance for the ongoing debate as to the most effective policy instruments for achieving sustainable energy and climate policies in Europe.
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Chapter 5: Spain: Greening Electricity While Growing the Economy

Carmen Navarro


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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