Special Issue "Innovation in the European Energy Sector and Regulatory Responses to It"
A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 May 2017)
Prof. Dr. Michiel A. Heldeweg
Chair in Law, Governance & Technology, University of Twente, Drienerlolaan 5, 7522 NB Enschede, the Netherlands
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Interests: smart, future proof and experimental regulation & legislation; law & technology; law & governance; institutional legal theory; regulatory theory; legal design; robotics & law; sustainability, environmental and renewable energy law
Innovation in the European energy sector used to be characterized as mostly incremental and top-down. At the same time, it is an important sector that is also traditionally highly regulated. With the intensifying tempo of technology and governance innovation, catalyzed inter alia by the energy transition, and accompanied by new formats of innovation (disruptive and bottom-up), the question arises whether the existing regulatory framework sufficiently allows for such innovation and supports its further development.
Moreover, the traditional European energy system, in terms of its technical and commercial/market design, as well as the regulatory framework supporting it, is still organized according to the traditional value chain of energy production, transport, storage and distribution. This system has formed in the 20th century; however, the current European energy market is far from static. In recent years many developments have changed its structure. First, liberalization and drive towards integrated internal market pushed the dynamics of the energy market towards a pan-European, harmonized and coordinated model. Secondly, against the backdrop of technological innovation, intensifying security of supply and climate change concerns triggered the emergence of renewable energy sources (RES) in the energy mix of the Member States. RES are usually produced in a more decentralized manner compared to traditional fossil energy sources. Combined with an increased level of energy-related awareness of the population, as well as technological progress and respective increasing affordability of technology, this creates a bottom-up pull in the energy market towards distributed and smaller-scale energy production. Thereby, the European energy market is experiencing a number of conflicting forces: First, on the vertical axis, there is a multi-level governance issue, and namely push towards more centralization on European level, and at the same time pull towards more decentralization on national level. Second, on the horizontal axis, there is a multi-actor governance issue, such as the governance of decentralized RES production by citizens, as well as market and government actors.
Whereas the central pull towards European harmonization has often been the locus of academic investigation, the latter, that of innovative decentralization of energy production on the national level and that of regulatory responses to it, has received relatively less attention. This Special Issue aims to contribute to filling this academic gap, especially from a law and policy perspective. Moreover, in this Special Issue we aim to focus both on the ‘traditional’ regulatory responses to innovation taking place in the energy sector, and on the more recent regulatory reactions to current innovations, such as for example local sustainable energy initiatives, etc.
This Special Issue will comprise papers that will be presented at the EUROPEAN CONSORTIUM FOR POLITICAL RESEARCH (ECPR) 6TH STANDING GROUP ON REGULATORY GOVERNANCE BIENNIAL CONFERENCE (6–8 July, 2016, Tilburg University, the Netherlands).
Prof. Dr. Michiel Heldeweg
Prof. Dr. Ellen van Bueren
Ms. Anna Butenko
Dr. Thomas Hoppe
Dr. Séverine Saintier
Dr. Victoria Daskalova
Manuscript Submission Information
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- regulatory frameworks
- public policy
- renewable energy
- energy markets