Department of Business Development and Technology

Power struggles: Governing renewable electricity in a time of technological disruption

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Standard

Power struggles : Governing renewable electricity in a time of technological disruption. / Baker, Lucy; Hook, Andrew; Sovacool, Benjamin K.

In: Geoforum, Vol. 118, 01.2021, p. 93-105.

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Harvard

APA

CBE

MLA

Vancouver

Author

Bibtex

@article{2848982c695e4fa69453895b3ebdad26,
title = "Power struggles: Governing renewable electricity in a time of technological disruption",
abstract = "Until recently the regulation, ownership and governance of the electricity sector was subject to long-standing debates between those advocating for a state-owned monopoly at one end and those for market liberalisation at the other. However, this debate has now been disrupted by dramatic developments in low-carbon technologies which pose a potentially radical challenge to the centralised system of electricity and have huge implications for the nature of electricity markets, policy and planning. Within this dynamic we explore how rapid technological shifts and processes of electricity governance and procurement are interacting over time, across scales, across technologies and within the different national political economies of Germany and South Africa. We find that while the nature of Germany's regulatory framework introduced in the early 1990s prioritised decentralised renewable energy systems with a strong role for community ownership, the design of South Africa's national programme for the procurement of renewable electricity two decades later has privileged generation projects at the utility-scale, and in turn the large-scale corporate and financial actors that operate and own them. Yet as such dynamics have continued to evolve, more recent policies in Germany have given greater encouragement to large-scale projects built by corporate actors, while in South Africa, small-scale distributed generation has been installed by wealthy consumers in the absence of appropriate legislation rather than because of it. In exposing these complexities, we challenge the assumption that radical low-carbon technological change will automatically result in a reconfiguration of political, economic and social power structures.",
keywords = "Centralised, Decentralised, Germany, Market, Monopoly, Renewable electricity, South Africa",
author = "Lucy Baker and Andrew Hook and Sovacool, {Benjamin K.}",
note = "Funding Information: This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 730403 ?Innovation pathways, strategies and policies for the Low-Carbon Transition in Europe (INNOPATHS)?. The content of this deliverable does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information and views expressed herein lies entirely with the authors. We would also like to thank Mari Martiskainen for her thoughts on earlier drafts of this work and the three anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments. Funding Information: This project has received funding from the European Union{\textquoteright}s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 730403 “Innovation pathways, strategies and policies for the Low-Carbon Transition in Europe (INNOPATHS)”. The content of this deliverable does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information and views expressed herein lies entirely with the authors. Publisher Copyright: {\textcopyright} 2020 Elsevier Ltd Copyright: Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.",
year = "2021",
month = jan,
doi = "10.1016/j.geoforum.2020.12.006",
language = "English",
volume = "118",
pages = "93--105",
journal = "Geoforum",
issn = "0016-7185",
publisher = "Pergamon Press",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Power struggles

T2 - Governing renewable electricity in a time of technological disruption

AU - Baker, Lucy

AU - Hook, Andrew

AU - Sovacool, Benjamin K.

N1 - Funding Information: This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 730403 ?Innovation pathways, strategies and policies for the Low-Carbon Transition in Europe (INNOPATHS)?. The content of this deliverable does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information and views expressed herein lies entirely with the authors. We would also like to thank Mari Martiskainen for her thoughts on earlier drafts of this work and the three anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments. Funding Information: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 730403 “Innovation pathways, strategies and policies for the Low-Carbon Transition in Europe (INNOPATHS)”. The content of this deliverable does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information and views expressed herein lies entirely with the authors. Publisher Copyright: © 2020 Elsevier Ltd Copyright: Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

PY - 2021/1

Y1 - 2021/1

N2 - Until recently the regulation, ownership and governance of the electricity sector was subject to long-standing debates between those advocating for a state-owned monopoly at one end and those for market liberalisation at the other. However, this debate has now been disrupted by dramatic developments in low-carbon technologies which pose a potentially radical challenge to the centralised system of electricity and have huge implications for the nature of electricity markets, policy and planning. Within this dynamic we explore how rapid technological shifts and processes of electricity governance and procurement are interacting over time, across scales, across technologies and within the different national political economies of Germany and South Africa. We find that while the nature of Germany's regulatory framework introduced in the early 1990s prioritised decentralised renewable energy systems with a strong role for community ownership, the design of South Africa's national programme for the procurement of renewable electricity two decades later has privileged generation projects at the utility-scale, and in turn the large-scale corporate and financial actors that operate and own them. Yet as such dynamics have continued to evolve, more recent policies in Germany have given greater encouragement to large-scale projects built by corporate actors, while in South Africa, small-scale distributed generation has been installed by wealthy consumers in the absence of appropriate legislation rather than because of it. In exposing these complexities, we challenge the assumption that radical low-carbon technological change will automatically result in a reconfiguration of political, economic and social power structures.

AB - Until recently the regulation, ownership and governance of the electricity sector was subject to long-standing debates between those advocating for a state-owned monopoly at one end and those for market liberalisation at the other. However, this debate has now been disrupted by dramatic developments in low-carbon technologies which pose a potentially radical challenge to the centralised system of electricity and have huge implications for the nature of electricity markets, policy and planning. Within this dynamic we explore how rapid technological shifts and processes of electricity governance and procurement are interacting over time, across scales, across technologies and within the different national political economies of Germany and South Africa. We find that while the nature of Germany's regulatory framework introduced in the early 1990s prioritised decentralised renewable energy systems with a strong role for community ownership, the design of South Africa's national programme for the procurement of renewable electricity two decades later has privileged generation projects at the utility-scale, and in turn the large-scale corporate and financial actors that operate and own them. Yet as such dynamics have continued to evolve, more recent policies in Germany have given greater encouragement to large-scale projects built by corporate actors, while in South Africa, small-scale distributed generation has been installed by wealthy consumers in the absence of appropriate legislation rather than because of it. In exposing these complexities, we challenge the assumption that radical low-carbon technological change will automatically result in a reconfiguration of political, economic and social power structures.

KW - Centralised

KW - Decentralised

KW - Germany

KW - Market

KW - Monopoly

KW - Renewable electricity

KW - South Africa

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85098469287&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.geoforum.2020.12.006

DO - 10.1016/j.geoforum.2020.12.006

M3 - Journal article

AN - SCOPUS:85098469287

VL - 118

SP - 93

EP - 105

JO - Geoforum

JF - Geoforum

SN - 0016-7185

ER -