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Influence of policy discourse networks on local energy transitions

: Brugger, Heike; Henry, Adam D.


Environmental innovation and societal transitions 39 (2021), S.141-154
ISSN: 2210-4224
Fraunhofer ISI ()
energy transition; discourse network analysis; local governance; energy policy; policy process; rural and urban comparison

Policy actions at the local level are key to reaching national and global climate and energy transition goals. This study seeks to understand the factors that explain variation in energy transition success at the local level, meaning the progress that local regions make to advance renewable energies as well as energy efficiency measures. This is done through the study of discourses that characterize the local policy processes surrounding the German energy transition. Discourses are conceptualized as infinite games, emphasizing the long-term and complex nature of transition processes. Research questions examine how local-level energy transitions are influenced by the content and the structure of the discourse and rural versus urban characteristics. Results from four regions show differences in discourse networks between rural and urban areas, as well as between more and less successful areas. Implications for the design of policies that affect the energy transition at the local level are explored.