Renewable Electricity and Biofuels in European Union Policy-Making: Case Studies in Targets and Definitions

Lindt, Albina. 2021. Renewable Electricity and Biofuels in European Union Policy-Making: Case Studies in Targets and Definitions. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The competence of the European Union (EU) in the policy area of renewable energy has expanded significantly in the last two decades, resulting in a detailed legislative framework that stipulates inter alia a number of EU-level and national targets, along with definitions determining a range of energy sources, which are countable toward these targets. At the same time, in contrast to other aspects of this policy area, the two intertwined policy issues of targets and definitions remain understudied in the discipline of political science, particularly at the stage of policy formulation within the overall policy cycle, which involves future scenario modelling and, more generally, the application of policy formulation tools. Trying to fill this gap, this thesis studies the policy-making on renewable electricity and biofuels targets and definitions, stipulatedby the 2001/77/EC, 2003/30/EC, 2009/28/EC, and the 2015/1513 EC Directives, and by implication engages with the emerging literature on tools for policy formulation. The theoretical framework applied integrates historical institutionalism with a more fine-tuned understanding of the role of agency, sought through the specification of such concepts as dimensions of power. The framework’s application further aims to examine the role of supranational, governmental and non-governmental actors in the policy-making processes, respective how different interest constellations played out within the structures of the EU legislative processes. The thesis argues that the policy outcomes of targets and definitions were influenced by structural constraints in their impact on a number of EU policy actors. More specifically, the targets were pre-shaped mainly by supranational institutions, in accordance with their assessment of external and internal structural constraints in energy and climate change policies. Member states, by comparison, prevailed on the formulation of definitions, being primarily interested in the reduction of the costs of compliance with the EU legislation in-the-making.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


renewable energy policy, renewable electricity, renewable fuels, biofuels, EU policy-making, tools for policy formulation, critical juncture, process tracing, path dependence

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



31 October 2021

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Date Deposited:

09 Nov 2021 16:40

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:19


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