Browsing by Subject "energy transition"

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  • Tynkkynen, Veli-Pekka (2020)
    By examining how power is constructed and maintained in Russia with the help of hydrocarbons—oil and gas—this article shows why this system is detrimental to Russia in the context of global environmental, technological, and geopolitical changes. While promoting a hydrocarbon culture as central to national identity, the Kremlin has failed to adapt to the global transition toward renewable energy. But external actors such as the European Union could encourage change from within to develop Russia’s untapped potential as a green power, given its vast endowments of renewable resources.
  • Matschoss, Kaisa; Mikkonen, Irmeli; Gynther, Lea; Koukoufikis, Giorgos; Uihlein, Andreas; Murauskaite-Bull, Ingrida (2021)
  • Lähteenmäki, Lauri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Russia’s energy security is considered to rest on hydrocarbon exports, as the country’s economy and political regime depends on revenue generated in energy trade. Today, Russia faces a problem, as interests toward climate change mitigation and renewable energy have increased globally. Particularly the EU, Russia’s primary gas trade partner, seeks to reduce fossil fuel consumption due to its climate policy targets and concerns over energy security. Via the Yamal LNG project, Russia begun to diversify its markets toward East Asia in 2017. The project is expected to spur energy infrastructure development in the Arctic region, as it ships liquefied natural gas (LNG) along the Northern Sea Route. This study finds out how the stakeholders of the Yamal LNG project consider it to connect with the energy security of Russia, to which climate change mitigation poses a potential threat. Since securitization of energy is the result of a social process where political actors contest over the meanings of energy, the study also looks at whose interests the Yamal LNG project actually secures as “energy security”, and how that concept becomes projected as a general national interest, instead of having energy transition among the top objectives of energy policy. Neo-Gramscian analytical approach and frame analysis are used to deliver results from a data consisting of 11 research interviews and 40 archival sources. The stakeholders make sense of Yamal LNG’s relation to energy security and energy transition through four frames, which reflect distinct interest groups. The stakeholders appeal on others by utilizing the frames discursively, as they strategically contest over the meanings of energy. Ultimately, a hegemonic group consisting of the Russian state, JSC Yamal LNG shareholders, industrial organizations, and fossil energy lobbies determines the meanings of Yamal LNG’s production as general interests. Subordinate groups, including environmental NGOs and local indigenous residents, consent as they face combinations of discursive, organizational and material power. With the concession of others, the hegemonic group is able to project a “reality” that presents natural gas production as compatible with energy transition and climate change mitigation as an inferior interest to energy security. The Yamal LNG case shows that incumbent fossil energy regimes can effectively counter attempts to direct energy policy on low-carbon paths by pleading to security, which is a topic that research often neglects.
  • Lyytimäki, Jari; Nygrén, Nina A.; Pulkka, Anna; Rantala, Salla (BioMed Central, 2018)
    Energy, Sustainability and Society 8, 15 (2018)
    Background Media coverage can play an important part in energy transitions. It creates awareness of landscape-level megatrends affecting energy systems. It influences and is influenced by public and policy agendas on a regime level. On a niche level, it can spread or screen out information and motivate or discourage actors to adopt new technologies and practices. However, relatively few studies have specifically addressed the role of media in energy transitions. Newspaper coverage of biogas is studied here as a case of media framing of a potential renewable energy solution. Methods This article examines the long-term development of newspaper coverage of biogas in Finland. The aim of the quantitative content analysis is to draw an overall picture of the main phases of biogas coverage of a widely read newspaper focusing on agriculture and forestry, actors using discursive power in this coverage and key framings of the discussion. The results are discussed from the perspective of energy transition studies. In particular, future expectations created by the media are explored. Results The results show a lack of newspaper coverage on biogas in the early 2000s, followed by a rapid increase and stabilisation of the volume of newspaper coverage. Biogas was most often mentioned as a secondary topic of broader discussions related to renewable energy. The core discussion focusing on biogas was characterised by very positive framings of biogas as a preferable energy solution fully compatible with the principle of circular economy. The news stories often had a strong future orientation, and examples of enthusiastic forerunners were frequently presented. However, the coverage also emphasised the poor economic profitability of biogas technologies and a need for considerable public subsidies that are inherently unpredictable. Conclusions The future of niche-level energy technologies such as biogas can be strongly shaped by information flows, public perceptions and expectations created in part by media coverage. The analysed newspaper coverage in Finland was ambivalent from the perspective of energy transition. On the one hand, biogas production was represented as a preferable, environmentally friendly niche-level energy technology that should be encouraged. On the other hand, by emphasising the economic unviability of biogas technologies, the analysed newspaper coverage did not promote the adoption of biogas.
  • Johnstone, Phil; Rogge, Karoline S.; Kivimaa, Paula; Farné Fratini, Chiara; Primmer, Eeva (Elsevier, 2021)
    Energy Research & Social Science 74
    Industrial policy has re-emerged as an area of policy discussion in recent years, but the characteristics and role of industrial policy vary across national contexts. Particularly, the role of industrial policy in the ongoing energy transitions of different countries has received little attention. We introduce an analytical framework to explore the relationship between industrial policy and different energy policy trajectories and apply this framework in an empirical analysis of the perceptions of key stakeholders in the energy sector in Germany, the United Kingdom and Denmark. We identify four key elements of industrial policy – industrial visions, industrial policy instruments, industrial policy governance, and employment concerns – and based on these analyse perceptions of how industrial policy has facilitated changes in the energy system of the three countries. We find significant differences in industrial policy styles for low-carbon transitions, reflecting broader differences in political institutions and cultures. Our analysis shows how sustainability transitions relate to industrial policy, and which elements can act as enablers and barriers to low-carbon transitions.
  • Heiskanen, Eva; Apajalahti, Eeva-Lotta; Matschoss, Kaisa Johanna; Lovio, Raimo (2018)
    The behaviour of incumbent energy companies is critical for a transition to a sustainable energy system. We address the recent call for closer conceptualisation of power and agency within transition studies by combining concepts of strategic action fields (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012) and the flat-ontology perspective of arenas of development (Jørgensen, 2012) to identify potential ruptures emerging on the micro scale in the field of sustainable energy. We investigate how new actor configurations in new experimental arenas open field rules for renegotiation. We provide a long-term analysis on how traditional energy field rules have emerged, how two of the most powerful energy companies in Finland have responded to the emergence of sustainable energy and how new forms of collaborations are emerging in the space created by new arenas of development that create ruptures within the incumbent energy coalition.
  • Moilanen, Fanni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Sustainability transitions literature addresses societal challenges relating to sustainability and offers alternative visions as solutions. Transition of the energy system is central in mitigating climate change and attaining sustainability. District heating is a fundamental part of the Finnish energy system, and the majority of heat is produced with fossil fuels. This case study investigates the low temperature and two-way district heating experiment of Skanssi in Turku. Transitions evolve from local experiments i.e. niche innovations, which propose visions of sustainable alternatives. The implementation and diffusion of these alternatives is challenged by various hindrances, such as institutionalized practices. The aim of the study is to investigate the district heating experiment of Skanssi by utilizing sustainability transition literature. In addition, the study examines the institutions that hampered the implementation of the local niche innovation. The research data was collected by interviewing the central actors related to the development and implementation of the local district heating experiment. The interview data was analyzed using theory-guided content analysis. Internet based material of the case was utilized as secondary data. The local district heating experiment was initiated by the regional energy company in cooperation with the city of Turku. The experiment was expected to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and to provide decentralized heat production in the Skanssi area. The implementation of the experiment had halted in 2018, and a two-way heating system had not been realized. Slow construction of the houses in the area hindered the implementation of the experiment. In addition various regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive institutions effected the planning and implementation of the experiment. The lack of regulation concerning two-way heating systems increased uncertainty around the experiment. Furthermore, the experiment did not suit the practices, roles and interests of both the inhabitants and housing developers. The findings show that two-way district heating systems are still highly uncommon, and thus their implementation is inert and uncertain. After the data collection of this study there have been changes in the district heat sector, which may have influenced the development of the experiment in Skanssi. Since local experiments are essential in advancing the energy transition, it would be important to continue implementation of the local district heating experiment.
  • Kivimaa, Paula; Sivonen, Marja H. (Elsevier, 2021)
    Energy Research & Social Science 75 (2021), 102024
    Sustainable Development Goals aim for a better future, but gains are threatened by conflict and governance failures, exacerbated by climate change. While research on energy security is well-established, conceptual-analytical research on sustainability transitions has paid little attention to security threats as factors influencing transitions or security policy as part of policy mixes. This paper combines policy coherence and integration analysis of energy and security strategy documents with sustainability transitions’ research, considering how landscape pressures and energy niches are presented in documents pertaining to Estonia, Finland and Scotland during 2006–2020. The findings show that security and energy policies present a functional overlap. Yet, policy integration and coherence are insufficiently addressed, conflicts created by coexisting low-carbon and hydrocarbon-based security considerations. An increasingly multifaceted landscape creates a complicated policy environment where pursuing policy coherence becomes harder. Despite the accelerating energy transition, the security implications of energy niches have received too little attention.
  • Lyytimäki, Jari (Elsevier, 2018)
    Sustainable Production and Consumption 15 (2018), pages 65-73
    Decentralised production and consumption of biogas is often argued to provide multiple opportunities for accelerating the transition towards sustainable development. This research focuses on the long-term coverage of biogas in two widely read Finnish newspapers. The results show a relatively voluminous professional but weaker and scattered mainstream media coverage of biogas. Four key storylines of public debate relevant for sustainability transition are investigated. First, the environmental impacts of biogas have been described under strikingly positive framings highlighting a potential for various environmental benefits. In particular, growing emphasis has been placed on natural resource management following the idea of circular economy. Second, the economic storyline has casted doubts on profitability of biogas production by emphasising the need for public subsidies. Newspaper coverage has focused on the micro level economic performance of energy producers and left the macro level economic implications of biogas with little attention. Third, the energy policy storyline has framed biogas predominantly as a local-level solution without extensively discussing a national level target setting for biogas. Fourth, the technology storyline has been relatively thin and it has emphasised the novelty of biogas production without highlighting any major technological problems or risks. Overall, the newspaper coverage of biogas has not seriously challenged the dominant energy discourse taking the centralised energy production as a self-evident overall context of national energy system. The results suggest that there exists a considerable variation between different media and between different national contexts. These variations should be taken into account when designing and implementing energy policies.
  • Mikkonen, Irmeli; Gynther, Lea; Matschoss, Kaisa; Koukoufikis, Giorgos; Murauskaite-Bull, Ingrida; Uihlein, Andreas (European Union, 2020)
    JRC Science for Policy Report
  • Dahal, Karna; Juhola, Sirkku; Niemelä, Jari (2018)
    Abstract Renewable energy policies are necessary for achieving carbon neutrality which is the main goal for climate change mitigation. The cities in the Helsinki Metropolitan area have committed themselves to significantly reducing carbon emissions through various climate measures including some measures for renewable energy utilization. We use multilevel perspective (MLP) and renewable energy frameworks to examine the role of renewable energy policies to carbon neutrality in the Helsinki Metropolitan area and base our analysis on various policy documents and semi-structured interviews. Our findings show that current renewable energy policies in the Helsinki Metropolitan area are weak and many challenges exist. Nevertheless, many options are available for improving existing policies. The cities have many opportunities to adopt various energy policy measures, including small-scale renewable energy production in building premises, renewable energy integration to district heating, demand-side solutions for energy utilization, and increasing budgets and subsidies to renewable energy production and enhancement of the social acceptance of renewable energy. Such additional policies are needed to reach carbon neutrality in the Helsinki Metropolitan area.
  • Groundstroem, Fanny; Juhola, Sirkku (2021)
    Increased use of bioenergy, driven by ambitious climate and energy policies, has led to an upsurge in international bioenergy trade. Simultaneously, it is evident that every node of the bioenergy supply chain, from cultivation of energy crops to production of electricity and heat, is vulnerable to climate change impacts. However, climate change assessments of bioenergy supply chains neither account for the global nature of the bioenergy market, nor the complexity and dynamic interconnectivity between and within different sub-systems in which the bioenergy supply chain is embedded, thereby neglecting potential compounding and cascading impacts of climate change. In this paper, systems thinking is utilised to develop an analytical framework to address this gap, and aided by causal loop diagrams, cascading impacts of climate change are identified for a case study concerning imports of wood pellets from the United States to the European Union. The findings illustrate how the complexity and interconnectivity of the wood pellet supply system predispose the supply chain to various cascading climate change impacts stemming from environmental, social, political and economic domains, and highlight the value of using system-based analysis tools for studying such complex and dynamic systems.