Stability, participation and transparency in renewable energy policy: Lessons from Denmark and the United States
Elsevier Policy and Society 27 (2009) 379–398
The expansion and long-term sustainability of the renewable energy industry will depend on many factors. Energy demand, energy access, energy security, the green collar jobs agenda and climate protection will all drive the industry forward. Public opposition and insufficient financial support can hold it back. To facilitate steady, sustainable growth of the renewable energy market, careful consideration of promotion policies will be necessary to ensure that the inherently distributed nature of renewable energy sources translates into diverse ownership, with broad support. Such support will drive the rapid deployment of these socially and economically beneficial and environmentally necessary technologies. This acceleration can be created through innovative democracy, which attempts to bring all actors into the decision-making process. When considered as a market driver for renewable energy, this equitable, participatory approach must be considered in conjunction with stable financial support schemes which allow diverse actors to engage the market. Lessons from Denmark and the United States show why this combination of conditions is central to the rapid deployment of renewable energy. Policymakers can assess the effectiveness of this approach by analysing which groups benefit most from the design of different policies. The authors suggest several criteria for performing this analysis.