Public policy spillovers from private energy governance: new opportunities for the political acceleration of renewable transitions
- Sep 10, 2020 2:58 pm GMT
Focused on a particular facet of private climate and energy governance – corporate demand for and procurement of carbon-free electricity from renewable sources – this study uncovers a new set of opportunities for the political acceleration of energy transitions. In seeking to understand the grid-greening impacts of corporate renewable procurement and demand, the study reveals that private energy and electricity governance can actually serve to alter the politics of energy transitions. Specifically, the analysis presented in this paper shows that public-private governance interactions can destabilize the politics of carbon lock-in by expanding coalitions for decarbonization and triggering positive private-public regulatory feedbacks. Grounded in the empirical context of the US electricity sector – a dynamic site of coexistence and interaction between public and private energy governance, the research and analysis presented in this paper show that business engagement in private, market-driven greening of the electricity sector can advance renewable transition both directly, through buyer-driven increases in renewable generation capacity; and indirectly, through turning corporate renewable buyers into the beneficiaries and supporters of public policy and regulatory action that advances decarbonization.
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