Governing climate mitigation is complex, as the recurring gap between policy intentions and actions exhibits. Interventions at the urban scale represent an opportunity to implement energy policy targets. Urban development projects can function as carrier to implement innovative energy solutions as ‘by-product’. To do so, planners must proactively and strategically deploy planning instruments to influence market behaviour, since project realization relies heavily on public-private interaction. This paper explores how local planning authorities use a variety of planning instruments in urban development projects that assist in implementing both planning and energy policy targets. To understand how planning instruments can be deployed deliberately to implement energy policy targets and why a specific instrument mix was chosen, this paper presents a cross-comparison of three urban development projects from Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, which all successfully implemented innovative energy solutions. Results show that contextual differences in the processes entail the use of specific instruments to implement energy policy targets. However, the deployed instrument types, enabling factors and involved governmental levels in the technology-open processes showed a similar pattern across all three cases.
- Sustainable urban development
- policy instruments
- energy strategy implementation
- planner roles