A governance approach to regional energy transition: Meaning, conceptualization and practice

Thomas Hoppe*, Michiel Miedema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
86 Downloads (Pure)


Energy transition requires action from different levels of government. While the national and local level have received ample scholarly attention, thus far little attention has been paid to the regional level. This is remarkable because policy makers across Europe are wondering what governance of regional transition actually is and how to shape and implement it. In the present paper, this concern is addressed. The research questions are, "What does regional governance of energy transition entail? How can it be conceptualized? And what does it mean in practice?" The questions are answered by presenting the results of a multi-disciplinary literature study, presenting a conceptual framework on governance of regional energy transition, using insights from innovation and transition studies as well as from the regional and network governance literature, and applying this to the illustrative case of theWest-Brabant region in The Netherlands. West-Brabant is a relatively large region and was home to a pilot that involved the development of a regional energy strategy. Data collection involved twenty expert interviews, text documents and participative observation in workshops. Results highlight the relevance of each of the key elements of the conceptual governance framework. However, some are particularly relevant like structural characteristics of the regional actor network, actor characteristics, and regional governance arrangements used. The results reveal commonalities with regional governance in other policy domains. This paper contributes to the literature on polycentric governance of energy transition and climate change mitigation, and concludes with the presentation of a research agenda.

Original languageEnglish
Article number915
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Energy transition
  • Governance
  • Multi-level governance
  • Network
  • Policy
  • Polycentric governance
  • Region
  • Sustainable transition


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