Institutional Settings of Local Renewable Energy Planning: A Systematic Literature Review

I. Lammers, Thomas Hoppe, M.j. Arentsen, A.M. Heldeweg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientific

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A paradigm shift has taken place in energy markets and energy policy. Developments like diffusion of renewable energy technologies and institutional restructuring have made local energy planning in Europe more complex and call for new forms of governance for energy provision at the local level. Through a systematic literature review we addressed the question: Which institutional settings of local renewable energy planning in the post-liberalization area has prior research identified? For this systematic analysis we combined the analytic concept ‘action situation’ (as developed by Elinor Ostrom) with concepts from the policy studies discipline. The literature review was conducted in two cycles: a systematic database search and snowballing. Four clusters of search terms were used to search two databases (Scopus and Web of Science), and additionally three selection criteria were applied to screen titles, abstracts and in turn the full text of international, refereed journal articles. The selected articles were coded using Atlas.ti, with the help of codes that mainly derived from the policy-oriented operationalization of the ‘action situation’. Based on this coding, an in-depth qualitative analysis in the form of a narrative review was undertaken, and supplemented by a range of descriptive statistics. While a gap in the academic literature was, strictly speaking, not retrieved, our analysis shed more light on the institutional settings present in the dispersed amount of relevant academic articles. Local energy planning was found to be undertaken in a diversity of ways after the liberalization of the EU’s energy markets. Actors and positions (mainly ownership and financial policy instruments), inadequate information (on policy instruments, rules, regulations and costs), control in form of coalitions as well as uncertainty about costs and benefits are found to be decisive factors for decision-making on the implementation of renewable energy technologies. In spite of, or rather due to this variety in institutional settings, stakeholders can learn from the experiences of decision-makers in other countries. Therefore, we deem the results of this study relevant to both practitioners and policy makers as it can help actors uncover which possibilities or limitations exist in the changed level playing field of local energy provision, i.e. regarding the introduction of (smart) renewable energy technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of NIG Annual Work Conference 2016
Subtitle of host publicationPanel 8: Energy and Climate Governance
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventNIG Annual Work Conference 2016 - Antwerp, Belgium
Duration: 24 Nov 201625 Nov 2016


ConferenceNIG Annual Work Conference 2016


  • local energy planning
  • decision-making
  • renewable energy technology
  • liberalization EU’s energy markets
  • literature review


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