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Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 53; doi:10.3390/su9010053

The Incumbents’ Conservation Strategies in the German Energy Regime as an Impediment to Re-Municipalization—An Analysis Guided by the Multi-Level Perspective

1
Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, Energy, Döppersberg 19, Wuppertal 42103, Germany
2
Department for International Development Studies, Philipps-University of Marburg, Biegenstraße 10, 35037 Marburg, Germany
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Harald Rohracher, Michael Ornetzeder and Philipp Späth
Received: 12 October 2016 / Revised: 22 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 December 2016 / Published: 30 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Governing the Transformation of Urban Infrastructures)
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Abstract

After two decades of privatization and outsourcing being the dominant trends across public services, an inclination towards founding new municipal power utilities can be observed. In this article, the authors examine the preservation strategies of the German energy regime following the transition approach developed by Geels. From the multi-level perspective, it can be stated that innovations take place in niches and have to overcome the obstacles and persistence of the conventional fossil–nuclear energy regime. Through an empirical analysis, it can be concluded that the established regime significantly delays the decentralization process required for a transformation of energy structures on local electricity grids. Furthermore, it is shown that municipal utilities (Stadtwerke) are important key actors for the German Energiewende (energy transition) as they function as local energy distributors and they meet a variety of requirements to promote fundamental structural change. The trend towards re-municipalization and the re-establishment of municipal utilities reveal the desire to further strengthen the scope of local politics. View Full-Text
Keywords: transition research; energy transition; re-municipalization; municipal utilities; local politics transition research; energy transition; re-municipalization; municipal utilities; local politics
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Berlo, K.; Wagner, O.; Heenen, M. The Incumbents’ Conservation Strategies in the German Energy Regime as an Impediment to Re-Municipalization—An Analysis Guided by the Multi-Level Perspective. Sustainability 2017, 9, 53.

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