The Europeanization of Portuguese Renewable Energy Policy: opportunities and constraints of the transformation of energy systems in the EU and its member states
UACES 49th Annual Conference
In the second half of the 2010s, the transformation of the energy systems of the European Union (EU) and its member states towards a greater incorporation of renewable energy sources (RES) has come to a crossroads. While the 1990s and most of the 2000s witnessed a rapid increase in policies and programs aimed to promote the production and consumption of energy from RES, since the late 2000s, the speed of transformation has slowed down and instances of policy dismantling are becoming more frequent. The Portuguese policy for promoting the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources is a case in point. Due to its high level of energy dependency, Portugal adopted its first renewable electricity support schemes already in the late 1980s. From then onwards it became a European forerunner in the development of renewable energy sources, a development that was backed by the EU’s renewable energy directives and targets as well as financial support from the EU. With the global financial crisis, a partial weakening of Portuguese renewable energy policy can be observed. Against this backdrop, we ask: How did Europeanization shape the development of Portuguese renewable electricity policy? Which are the main factors – domestic or international – that enable EU member states to comply with (or even go beyond) ambitious goals for a European climate and energy transition? And which are the main restrictions to such a policy? We develop an analytical framework that emphasizes the interactive nature of EU policy making, characterized by an interdependent mix of uploading, downloading and cross-loading of policies and programs between the European and the national levels. By applying this framework to the Portuguese case, we discuss the multi-level interactions of renewable energy policy in Europe that are decisive for the prospects of a European climate and energy transition.
portugal,environmental policy,renewable energy policy,europeanization,energy policy,renewable energy