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Who finances renewable energy in Europe? Examining temporality, authority and contestation in solar and wind subsidies in Poland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-12, 08:09 authored by Marfuga IskandarovaMarfuga Iskandarova, Agata Dembek, Maria Fraaije, William Matthews, Agata Stasik, Julia M Wittmayer, Benjamin SovacoolBenjamin Sovacool
In this paper, we explore the development of financing and subsidies for renewable energy in three fossil-fuelled European countries: Poland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Financing for renewable energy is an existing arena involving multi-actor activities and practices that develop and implement (innovative) financial instruments to facilitate investments in renewable energy. This means that the paper focuses on different financial mechanisms – such as grants, awards, subsidies, crowdfunding, community bonds, ventures, social investment, as long as these funding instruments finance sustainable energy infrastructure and activities. The extent to which this is changing social relations and comes with new ways of doing, thinking and/or organizing is an empirical topic explicitly examined in the study. We first briefly define and conceptualize financial mechanisms and subsidies before explicating our mixed methods research design consisting of scoping, document analysis, 22 original expert interviews, and observational data from eight meetings and events. We then compare the recent history of solar and wind energy financing and subsidies in our three countries. These comparative cases reveal the temporality of subsidization, indicating fundamental changes in the patterns and logics of financing over the past two decades. They reveal shifts in authority and an expansion of actors involved in financing. They lastly reveal tensions and contestations in financing, including gaps in coverage and conflicts among stakeholder groups. We conclude with future insights for renewable energy diffusion, innovation, and policy.


SONNET - SOCIAL INNOVATION IN ENERGY TRANSITIONS: Co-creating a rich understanding of the diversity, processes, contributions, success and future potentials of social innovation in the energy sector; G2690; EUROPEAN UNION; Ares(2018)65687


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Energy Strategy Reviews







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  • SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit Publications

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