2001–2008: European-Scale Experimentation in Renewable Energy Policy-Making

  • Béatrice Cointe
  • Alain Nadaï
Part of the Progressive Energy Policy book series (PEP)


The chapter analyses two evolutions in European renewable electricity policy between 2001 and 2008. The first was a sophistication of renewable electricity support schemes, in particular feed-in tariffs. The second was the consolidation of expertise about renewable electricity policy. Cointe and Nadaï describe how feed-in tariffs were re-arranged in their design and in their relations to European law. In parallel, they trace the expansion of literature on renewable electricity policy. This production of expertise was partly driven by the European Commission and its will to coordinate renewable electricity policy across Europe via regular assessments. The chapter ends on an analysis of the validation of feed-in tariffs as “market-based” by the Commission, arguing that it also reflected a shift in focus from competition to investment.


Feed-in tariffs European Union Erneuerbare-Energien Gesetz Experimentation Innovation trajectories 


  1. Alchian, Armen. 1963. Reliability of progress curves in airframe production. Econometrica 3: 679–693.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arrow, Kenneth. 1962. The economic implications of learning-by-doing. Review of Economic Studies 29: 155–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Awerbuch, Shimon. 2000. Investing in photovoltaic: Risk, accounting and the value of new technology. Energy Policy 28: 1023–1035. Scholar
  4. Bergek, Anna, and Staffan Jacobsson. 2010. Are tradable green certificates a cost-efficient policy driving technical change or a rent-generating machine? Lessons from Sweden 2003–2008. Energy Policy 38: 1255–1271. Scholar
  5. Callon, Michel. 2009. Civilizing markets: Carbon trading between in vitro and in vivo experiments. Accounting, Organizations and Society 34: 535–548. Scholar
  6. Callon, Michel, and Fabian Muniesa. 2003. Les marchés économiques comme dispositifs collectifs de calcul. Réseaux 122: 189–233. Scholar
  7. Commission of the European Communities. 2004. The share of renewable energy in the EU. Commission report in accordance with Article 3 of Directive 2001/77/EC, evaluation of the effect of legislative instruments and other Community policies on the development of the contribution of renewable energy sources in the EU and proposals for concrete action. COM(2004) 366 final. Brussels, 26 May 2004.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 2005. The support of electricity from renewable sources. Communication from the European Commission. COM(2005) 627 final. Brussels, 07 December 2005.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 2006. A European strategy for sustainable, competitive and secure energy. Green Paper. COM(2006) 105 final. Brussels, 08 March 2006.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 2007a. Towards a European strategic energy technologies plan. Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, The European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. COM(2006) 847 final. Brussels, 10 January 2007.Google Scholar
  11. ———. 2007b. Renewable energy roadmap. Renewable energies in the 21st century: Building a more sustainable future. Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament. COM(2006) 848 final. Brussels, 10 January 2007.Google Scholar
  12. ———. 2007c. An energy policy for Europe. Communication from the Commission to the European Council and the European Parliament. COM(2007) 1 final. Brussels, 10 January 2007.Google Scholar
  13. ———. 2007d. Limiting global climate change to 2 degrees Celsius. The way ahead for 2020 and beyond. Communication from the Commission to the Council, The European Parliament, The European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. COM(2007) 2 final. Brussels, 10 January 2007.Google Scholar
  14. ———. 2008. The support of electricity from renewable energy sources. Commission staff working document accompanying document to the Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources [COM(2008) 19 final], SEC(2008) 57, Brussels, 23 January 2008.Google Scholar
  15. Couture, Toby, and Yves Gagnon. 2010. An analysis of feed-in tariffs remuneration models: Implications for renewable energy investment. Energy Policy 38: 955–965. Scholar
  16. Dinica, Valentina. 2006. Support systems for the diffusion of renewable energy technologies—An investor perspective. Energy Policy 34: 461–480. Scholar
  17. European Commission. 2003. External costs: Research results on socio-environmental damages due to electricity and transport. DG Research Report: EUR 20198. Brussels.Google Scholar
  18. ———. 2011. Review of European and national financing of renewable energy in accordance with Article 23(7) of Directive 2009/28/CE. Commission staff working document. Accompanying document to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and Council [COM(2011) 31 final]. SEC(2011) 131 final. Brussels, 31 January 2011. European Court of Justice, 2000Google Scholar
  19. European Court of Justice. 2001. PreussenElektra v. Schleswag. Judgement of the Court, 13 March 2001, Case C-379/98.Google Scholar
  20. ———. 2000. Opinion of advocate general Jacobs delivered on 26 October 2000, Case C-379/98.Google Scholar
  21. European Parliament and Council. 2009. Directive 28/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repelling Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC. Official Journal of the European Union L 140: 16–62.Google Scholar
  22. Evrard, Aurélien. 2010. L’intégration des énergies renouvelables aux politiques publiques en Europe. Ph.D. thesis, Sciences Po Paris, Paris.Google Scholar
  23. Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. 2000. Act on granting priority to renewable energy sources, Berlin. Also published 2001 in Solar Energy Policy 70 (6): 489–504.Google Scholar
  24. Finon, Dominique. 2008. L’inadéquation du mode de subvention du photovoltaïque à sa maturité technologique. Working Paper 2008–09, Paris: CIRED.Google Scholar
  25. Foxon, Tim, and Peter Pearson. 2008. Overcoming barriers to innovation and diffusion of cleaner technologies: Some features of a sustainable innovation policy regime. Journal of Cleaner Production 16S1: S148–S161. Scholar
  26. Freeman, Chris. 1996. The greening of technology and models of innovation. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 53: 27–39. Scholar
  27. Haas, Reinhaard, Wolfgang Eichhammer, Claus Huber, Ole Langniss, Arturo Lorenzoni, Reinhard Madlener, Philippe Ménanteau, Poul Erik Morthorst, Alvaro Martins, Anna Oniszk, et al. 2004. How to promote renewable energy systems successfully and effectively. Energy Policy 32: 833–839. Scholar
  28. Haas, Reinhaard, Anne Held, Dominique Finon, Niels I. Meyer, Arturo Lorenzoni, Ryan Wiser, and Ken-Ichiro Nishio. 2008. Promoting electricity from renewable energy sources—Lessons learned from the EU, U.S. and Japan. In Competitive electricity markets, ed. Fereidoon P. Sioshansi, 91–133. London: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  29. Haas, Reinhaard, Gustav Resch, Christian Panzer, Sebastian Busch, Mario Ragwitz, and Anne Held. 2011. Efficiency and effectiveness of promotion systems for electricity generation from renewable energy sources—Lessons from EU countries. Energy 36: 2186–2193. Scholar
  30. Hirsch, Werner Z. 1952. Manufacturing progress functions. Review of Economics and Statistics 34: 143–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hvelplund, Frede. 2001. Political prices or political quantities? A comparison of renewable energy support systems. New Energy 5: 18–23.Google Scholar
  32. International Energy Agency. 2008. Deploying renewables: Principles for effective policies. Paris: OECD/IEA.Google Scholar
  33. Jacobs, David. 2012. Renewable energy policy convergence in the EU. The evolution of feed-in tariffs in Germany, Spain and France. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  34. Jacobsson, Staffan, and Anna Johnson. 2000. The diffusion of renewable energy technology: An analytical framework and key issues for research. Energy Policy 28 (9): 625–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Jacobsson, Staffan, and Volkmar Lauber. 2006. The politics and policy of energy system transformation—Explaining the German diffusion of renewable energy technology. Energy Policy 34: 256–276. Scholar
  36. Jacobsson, Staffan, Anne Bergek, Dominique Finon, Volkmar Lauber, Catherine Mitchell, David Toke, and Ariel Verbruggen. 2009. EU renewable energy support: Faith or facts? Energy Policy 37: 2143–2146. Scholar
  37. Jaffe, Adam B., and Robert N. Stavins. 1995. Dynamic incentives of environmental regulations: The effects of alternative policy instruments on technology diffusion. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 29: S43–S63. Scholar
  38. Jamasb, Tooraj. 2007. Technical change theory and learning curves: Patterns of progress in electricity generation technologies. The Energy Journal 28 (1): 51–71. Scholar
  39. Lauber, Volkmar. 2004. REFIT and RPS: Options for a harmonised community framework. Energy Policy 32: 1405–1414. Scholar
  40. Lauber, Volkmar, and Elisa Schenner. 2011. The struggle over support schemes for renewable electricity in the European Union: A discursive-institutionalist analysis. Environmental Politics 19: 127–141. Scholar
  41. Lecuyer, Oskar, and Philippe Quirion. 2013. Can uncertainty justify overlapping policy instruments to mitigate emissions? Ecological Economics 93: 177–191. Scholar
  42. Lesser, Jonathan A., and Su Xuejuan. 2008. Design of an economically efficient feed-in structure for renewable energy development. Energy Policy 36: 981–990. Scholar
  43. Lipp, Judith. 2007. Lessons for effective renewable energy policies from Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom. Energy Policy 35: 5481–5495. Scholar
  44. Loiter, Jeffrey M., and Vicki Norberg-Bohm. 1999. Technology policy and renewable energy: Public roles in the development of new energy technologies. Energy Policy 27: 85–97. Scholar
  45. Lüthi, Sonja, and Rolf Wüstenhagen. 2012. The price of policy risk—Empirical insights from choice experiments with European photovoltaic project developers. Energy Economics 34: 1001–1011. Scholar
  46. McDonald, Alan, and Lea Schrattenholzer. 2001. Learning rates for energy technologies. Energy Policy 29: 255–261. Scholar
  47. Ménanteau, Philippe, Dominique Finon, and Marie-Laure Lamy. 2003. Prices versus quantities: Choosing policies for promoting the development of renewable energy. Energy Policy 31: 799–812. Scholar
  48. Midttun, Atle, and Kristian Gautesen. 2007. Feed in or certificate, competition or complementarity? Combining a static efficiency and a dynamic innovation perspective on the greening of the energy industry. Energy Policy 35: 1419–1422. Scholar
  49. Midttun, Atle, and Svein Kamfjord. 1999. Energy and environmental governance under ecological modernization: A comparative analysis of Nordic countries. Public Administration 77: 873–895. Scholar
  50. Midttun, Atle, and Anne Louise Koefoed. 2003. Greening of electricity in Europe: Challenges and developments. Energy Policy 31: 677–687. Scholar
  51. Mitchell, Catherine, Janet Sawin, Govind R. Pokharel, Daniel Kammen, Zhongying Wang, Solomne Fifita, Mark Jaccard, Ole Langniss, Hugo Lucas, Alain Nadai, et al. 2011. Policy, financing and implementation. In IPCC special report on renewable energy sources and climate change mitigation, ed. Ottmar Edenhofer, Ramon PichsMadruga, Youba Sokona, Kristin Seyboth, Patrick Matschoss, Susanne Kadner, Timm Zwickel, Patrick Eickemeier, Gerrit Hansen, Steffen Schlömer, and Christoph von Stechow. Cambridge and New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Muniesa, Fabian, and Michel Callon. 2007. Economic experiments and the construction of markets. In Do economists make markets? On the performativity of economics, ed. David MacKenzie, Fabian Muniesa, and Lucia Siu. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Nemet, Gregory F. 2006. Beyond the learning curve: Factors influencing cost reductions in photovoltaics. Energy Policy 34: 3218–3232. Scholar
  54. Norberg-Bohm, Vicki. 1999. Stimulating green technological innovation: An analysis of alternative policy mechanisms. Policy Sciences 32: 13–38. Scholar
  55. Owen, Anthony D. 2006. Renewable energy: Externality costs as market barriers. Energy Policy 34: 632–642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Papineau, Maya. 2006. An economic perspective on learning curves and dynamic economies in renewable energy technologies. Energy Policy 34: 422–432. Scholar
  57. Ragwitz, Mario, Anne Held, Gustav Resch, Thomas Faber, Reinhard Haas, Claus Huber, Poul Erik Morthorst, Stie Grenaa Jensen, Rogier Coenraads, Monique Voogt, Gemma Reece, Inga Konstantinaviciute and Bernhard Heyder. 2007. Assessment and optimisation of renewable energy support schemes in the European electricity market. OPTRES final report. Karlsruhe, February 2007.Google Scholar
  58. Ringel, Marc. 2006. Fostering the use of renewable energies in the European Union: The race between feed-in tariffs and green certificates. Renewable Energy 31: 1–17. Scholar
  59. Sandén, Björn A., and Christian Azar. 2005. Near-term technology policies or long-term climate targets? Economy-wide versus technology-specific approaches. Energy Policy 33: 1557–1576. Scholar
  60. Schilling, Melissa A., and Melissa Esmundo. 2009. Technology S-curves in renewable energy alternatives: An analysis and implication for industry and government. Energy Policy 37: 1767–1789. Scholar
  61. Schmalensee, Richard. 2012. Evaluating policies to increase electricity generation from renewable energy. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 6: 45–64. Scholar
  62. Shum, Kwok L., and Chihiro Watanabe. 2008. Towards a local learning (innovation) model of solar photovoltaic deployment. Energy Policy 26: 508–521. Scholar
  63. Sims, Ralph E.H., Robert N. Schock, Anthony Adegbululgbe, Jørgen Fenhann, Inga Konstantinaviciute, William Moomaw, Hassan B. Nimir, Bernhard Schlamadinger, Julio Torres-Martinez, Clive Turner, et al. 2007. Energy supply. In Climate Change 2007: Mitigation of climate change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, ed. Bert Metz, Ogunlade Davidson, Peter Bosch, Rutu Dave, and Leo Meyer, 251–322. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Solorio, Israel, and Pierre Bocquillon. 2017. EU renewable energy policy: A brief overview of its history and evolution. In A guide to EU renewable energy policy: Comparing Europeanization and domestic policy change in EU member states, ed. Israel Solorio and Helge Jörgens. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wiser, Ryan H., and Steven J. Pickle. 1998. Financing investments in renewable energy: The impacts of policy design. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 2: 361–386. Scholar
  66. Wright, T.P. 1936. Factors affecting the cost of airplanes. Journal of Aeronautical Sciences 3 (4): 122–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Béatrice Cointe
    • 1
  • Alain Nadaï
    • 2
  1. 1.TIK Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.CIRED-CNRS (Centre International de Recherche sur l’Environnement et le Développement)Nogent-sur-MarneFrance

Personalised recommendations