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Special Issue "European Energy Policy at a Crossroads"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "I: Energy Economics and Policy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 January 2021) | Viewed by 8683

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Theodoros Zachariadis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Science and Technology, Cyprus University of Technology, 3603 Limassol, Cyprus
Interests: economics of energy; environment and exhaustible natural resources; energy and environmental impacts of transportation; energy and water policy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

European societies are faced with important decisions to be made on the way they will produce and consume energy in the near future. Meeting the objectives of the EU Energy Union, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change poses substantial challenges to policymakers, who need to decide on appropriate policies and measures to fulfil these commitments. How do priorities of energy policy interact? What are the synergies and the trade-offs between different policy objectives? How do long-term decarbonization targets affect policy choices for the short and medium term? Is the transition to circular economies compatible with the demand for highly energy-productive societies? Can the digitalization trend become a catalyst or a barrier for low-energy futures? Are European cities in a position to enable a secure, competitive and low-emission energy supply? What is the role of technological, economic, fiscal and behavioural considerations for securing a sustainable energy transition for Europe?

Multidisciplinary approaches to such questions are particularly welcome to this Special Issue. We invite theoretical and empirical contributions offering a European or broader international perspective. Papers with a national or sub-national focus will be considered as long as they demonstrate their relevance in the European policy landscape.

Prof. Dr. Theodoros Zachariadis
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • behavioral energy economics
  • climate policy
  • energy regulation
  • energy finance
  • integrated assessments
  • market design
  • security of energy supply
  • sustainable transport
  • taxation and other fiscal instruments
  • urban policy

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Evaluation of Synergies in the Context of European Multi-Business Utilities
Energies 2020, 13(24), 6676; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13246676 - 17 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 692
Abstract
In this paper, we evaluate selected multi-business utilities in the European energy market with regard to synergy potentials. To this end, we survey the development of the energy market in Europe and the performance of integrated versus focused utilities regarding their capital market [...] Read more.
In this paper, we evaluate selected multi-business utilities in the European energy market with regard to synergy potentials. To this end, we survey the development of the energy market in Europe and the performance of integrated versus focused utilities regarding their capital market performance measured by their corporate surplus (or deficit). The analysis is restricted to true business integration, in contrast to horizontal or vertical cooperation among separate firms. The German utility company RWE is analyzed in more detail. We find that, over the last 10–15 years, most of the multi-business utilities investigated underperformed compared to more focused utilities, and that they were even below the STOXX Europe 600 utilities index. Furthermore, synergy potentials need to be evaluated continuously, especially when influencing factors, with the potential to act as “game changers”, are either emerging on the horizon or are already present. We conclude that operating an integrated business model is not necessarily outdated in today’s energy markets, and offers a number of advantages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue European Energy Policy at a Crossroads)
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Article
An Ex-Post Assessment of RES-E Support in Greece by Investigating the Monetary Flows and the Causal Relationships in the Electricity Market
Energies 2020, 13(17), 4575; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13174575 - 03 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1294
Abstract
One way to perceive the electricity market is as a network of actors connected through transactions and monetary flows. By exploring the monetary flows in the electricity market, one adopts a holistic view which can provide insights on the interactions between different components [...] Read more.
One way to perceive the electricity market is as a network of actors connected through transactions and monetary flows. By exploring the monetary flows in the electricity market, one adopts a holistic view which can provide insights on the interactions between different components of the benefits and costs, as well as on the possible conflicts or alliances between the involved actors of the system. The importance of such an analysis becomes even more evident when considering if the system’s state would change due to either the effectuation of a policy measure or a shift in the external drivers of the system. Additionally, by identifying conditions of conflicting interests between the involved actors, one can devise a roadmap of least-resistance for a policy measure to attain its goals. Our work is based on the premise that understanding and quantifying the monetary flows in the electricity market can contribute to the efficiency assessment of policy interventions in the market. We present a structured analytical framework and the results of a quantitative analysis, based on available public domain data, for the identification of the main drivers and interactions that governed the major monetary flows in the Greek wholesale electricity market, from 2009 to 2013 and the ex-post assessment of the market impact of the feed-in-tariffs scheme that was in place during this period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue European Energy Policy at a Crossroads)
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Article
Current State and Future Prospective of Repowering Wind Turbines: An Economic Analysis
Energies 2020, 13(12), 3048; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13123048 - 12 Jun 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 929
Abstract
For over two decades, the construction of wind turbines in Germany has been supported by guaranteed feed-in tariffs determined by the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), the primary goal of which is climate protection, in addition to reducing the country’s dependence on the [...] Read more.
For over two decades, the construction of wind turbines in Germany has been supported by guaranteed feed-in tariffs determined by the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), the primary goal of which is climate protection, in addition to reducing the country’s dependence on the import of (finitely available) fossil fuels. After China and the United States, Germany ranks third worldwide in the production of wind energy. The number of onshore wind turbines in Germany has risen to approximately 30,000 plants, of which approximately 10,000 wind turbines will fall out of the guaranteed EEG funding window in the next one to two years. There are basically two alternatives for these wind turbines: either continuing operations, with the sale of electricity at relatively low and fluctuating electricity stock prices, or repowering, which opens access to the fixed feed-in tariffs for another 20 years. However, repowering has the disadvantages that an approval process must be carried out and the investor must participate in a tender. There is no guarantee for the granting of a building permit; economically feasible operations also depend on the fact that one can win a contract without the submitted price being set too low. This area of tension is illustrated by a wind farm in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and analysed economically. The investment in new, more efficient, and larger wind turbines currently promises a high return. The profitability of the investment in wind turbines is determined using the net present value (NPV) method. In addition, a risk analysis is carried out using stochastic simulation. As a result, the feed-in tariff contributes to over 95% of the variance in the net present value (NPV). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue European Energy Policy at a Crossroads)
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Article
The Energy Transition: Democracy, Justice and Good Regulation of the Heat Market
Energies 2020, 13(5), 1088; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13051088 - 02 Mar 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2330
Abstract
This paper discusses whether the concepts of energy democracy, energy justice and the principles of good market regulation could play a role in developing a more consistent approach towards the regulation of the energy sector. It is concluded that the principles of good [...] Read more.
This paper discusses whether the concepts of energy democracy, energy justice and the principles of good market regulation could play a role in developing a more consistent approach towards the regulation of the energy sector. It is concluded that the principles of good regulation can provide a useful framework within which advantages and disadvantages can be weighed of regulatory choices to be made when modernizing the regulation of the energy markets. A case study of the Dutch heat market is used as an example, showing that a lot remains to be gained in terms of flexible regulation and supervision and the facilitation of citizen participation. Both energy democracy and energy justice call for this. The lack of flexibility in the current regulatory framework could lead to ineffective and disproportionate regulation, hindering a sustainable, reliable and affordable development of the heat market. A larger need for flexibility is justified because of the differences between the types of heat networks. Customized solutions regarding unbundling and third-party access, including the modernization of the heat market, also require sufficient discretionary powers for the independent regulator that do not hinder but in fact stimulate the development of the heat market. Furthermore, increased citizen-participation is important in light of energy justice and energy democracy, which are energy specific concepts that overarch the principles of good regulation in the energy sector. Both concepts are based on the awareness that the energy transition is a matter for all citizens of the European Union and should not be ignored by policymakers and independent regulators. Since it is likely that most heat consumers will remain locked in for a relatively long time in natural monopolies facilitated by older generation heat networks and a lack of alternatives, substantive citizen-participation could yield positive results regarding community engagement in heat network management and heat supply. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue European Energy Policy at a Crossroads)
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Article
Applying Artificial Neural Networks to Forecast European Union Allowance Prices: The Effect of Information from Pollutant-Related Sectors
Energies 2019, 12(23), 4439; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12234439 - 22 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1059
Abstract
In this paper, we forecast the price of CO2 emission allowances using an artificial intelligence tool: neural networks. We were able to provide confident predictions of several future prices by processing a set of past data. Different model structures were tested. The [...] Read more.
In this paper, we forecast the price of CO2 emission allowances using an artificial intelligence tool: neural networks. We were able to provide confident predictions of several future prices by processing a set of past data. Different model structures were tested. The influence of subjective economic and political decisions on price evolution leads to complex behavior that is hard to forecast. We analyzed correlations with different economic variables related to the price of CO2 emission allowances and found the behavior of two to be similar: electricity prices and iron and steel prices. They, along with CO2 emission allowance prices, were included in the forecasting model in order to verify whether or not this improved forecasting accuracy. Only slight improvements were observed, which proved to be more significant when their respective time series trends or fluctuations were used instead of the original time series. These results show that there is some sort of link between the three variables, suggesting that the price of CO2 emission allowances is closely related to the time evolution of the price of electricity and that of iron and steel, which are very pollutant industrial sectors. This can be regarded as evidence that the CO2 market is working properly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue European Energy Policy at a Crossroads)
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Article
Optimal Timing of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Abatement in Europe
Energies 2019, 12(10), 1872; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12101872 - 16 May 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1086
Abstract
Decarbonization by the mid-21st century requires strong commitment to greenhouse emission abatement measures, but national emission reduction pledges are made for the medium term. Achieving medium term targets without taking into account the long term can lead to a lock-in effect, binding countries [...] Read more.
Decarbonization by the mid-21st century requires strong commitment to greenhouse emission abatement measures, but national emission reduction pledges are made for the medium term. Achieving medium term targets without taking into account the long term can lead to a lock-in effect, binding countries in pathways that cannot lead to strong decarbonization. This paper sheds light in this issue by combining a theoretical approach with real-world engineering and cost data. We develop a constrained optimization model to examine least-cost greenhouse gas emission abatement pathways, taking into account (a) emission reduction objectives for two years: 2030 and 2050; and (b) the potential speed of implementation of each measure, which expresses technical and behavioural inertia in the deployment of a measure. We focus on European countries and economic sectors that are not subject to the EU Emissions Trading System. We derive relationships between 2030 abatement targets of varying ambition and the possibility for a country to achieve a strong 2050 target. We find that more ambitious EU-wide targets have to be set by 2030 so that Europe delivers deep decarbonization by 2050. Moreover, if air pollution costs are taken into account, strong decarbonization by 2050 has lower social costs than less ambitious policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue European Energy Policy at a Crossroads)
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Review

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Review
Why We Continue to Need Energy Efficiency Programmes—A Critical Review Based on Experiences in Switzerland and Elsewhere
Energies 2021, 14(6), 1742; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14061742 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 928
Abstract
Energy efficiency programmes (EEPs) are schemes operated by utilities or other bodies in order to incentivize energy efficiency improvement, in particular by adoption of energy-efficient products and typically by means of an economic reward. Ample experience has been gained, especially in the U.S., [...] Read more.
Energy efficiency programmes (EEPs) are schemes operated by utilities or other bodies in order to incentivize energy efficiency improvement, in particular by adoption of energy-efficient products and typically by means of an economic reward. Ample experience has been gained, especially in the U.S., where EEPs have been in use for decades, with the rationale of avoiding additional energy supply by improving energy efficiency. More recently, EEPs have been implemented in Europe and in Switzerland. This review paper presents insights from the U.S., the EU and especially from Switzerland, with a focus on levelised programme cost of saved energy (LPC) as a key performance indicator. These LPC values, which take the perspective of the programme operator, are typically low to very low compared to the cost of electricity supply, thereby representing an important argument in favour of their use. The country examples show that EEPs are being effectively and successfully put into practice, for example, in Switzerland both as (i) a national tender-based scheme (called ProKilowatt) and in the form of a (ii) utility-operated obligation-based scheme (in Geneva). EEPs not only call for diligent implementation but also for suitable legal settings, e.g., in the form of mandatory energy efficiency savings targets (as realised for energy efficiency obligations, EEOs) in combination with programme cost recovery. The main criticism of EEPs is the free-rider effect, which needs to be minimised. On the other hand, EEPs are accompanied by significant co-benefits (environmental, health-related and social) and spillover effects. In their currently prevalent form, EEPs allow one to effectively save energy at a (very) low cost (“low-hanging fruit”). They can hence play an important role in fostering the energy transition; however, they should be implemented as part of a policy portfolio, in combination with other policy instruments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue European Energy Policy at a Crossroads)
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