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The Integration of Energy Conservation into the Political Goal of Renewable Energy Self-Sufficiency—A German Case Study Based on a Longitudinal Reconstruction

Author

Listed:
  • Järmo Stablo

    () (Centre for Renewable Energy, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Tennenbacher Straße 4, 79085 Freiburg, Germany)

  • Chantal Ruppert-Winkel

    () (Centre for Renewable Energy, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Tennenbacher Straße 4, 79085 Freiburg, Germany)

Abstract

Many local governments in Germany aim to reach Renewable Energy Self-Sufficiency (RESS) in their municipalities. In this context, ambitious time horizons for reaching this goal make it necessary to address the question of how less absolute energy can be consumed. The topic of energy conservation in scientific literature is very controversially discussed and in fact it is not clear which measures in the long term contribute to real reductions in energy demand. Therefore, in this paper, we do not determine how energy conservation should be achieved. Instead, we reconstruct, through an inductive longitudinal study, why energy conservation was integrated into the general principles of a municipality that wished to reach “RESS” by the year 2020 and considerably reduce energy demand. At the same time, we looked at the question of how energy conservation was conceptualized by local actors and which strategies, instruments, and activities were used to reach the goal. We found that environmentally concerned citizens brought the idea of energy conservation into the political arena. However, it was not until energy prices rose, regulations developed on a national level, subsidies for energy conservation emerged, and actions addressing the issue were seen by many local actors as adding value to the unique character the municipality gained by their RESS activities, that the actual subject was considered relevant in the municipality.

Suggested Citation

  • Järmo Stablo & Chantal Ruppert-Winkel, 2012. "The Integration of Energy Conservation into the Political Goal of Renewable Energy Self-Sufficiency—A German Case Study Based on a Longitudinal Reconstruction," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(5), pages 1-29, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:4:y:2012:i:5:p:888-916:d:17550
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cleveland, Cutler J. & Kaufmann, Robert K. & Stern, David I., 2000. "Aggregation and the role of energy in the economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 301-317, February.
    2. Jeroen Bergh, 2011. "Energy Conservation More Effective With Rebound Policy," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(1), pages 43-58, January.
    3. David I. Stern & Cutler J. Cleveland, 2004. "Energy and Economic Growth," Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics 0410, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics.
    4. Pettigrew, Andrew M., 1997. "What is a processual analysis?," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 337-348, December.
    5. Chontanawat, Jaruwan & Hunt, Lester C. & Pierse, Richard, 2008. "Does energy consumption cause economic growth?: Evidence from a systematic study of over 100 countries," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 209-220.
    6. Alcott, Blake, 2008. "The sufficiency strategy: Would rich-world frugality lower environmental impact," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(4), pages 770-786, February.
    7. Sanne, Christer, 2002. "Willing consumers--or locked-in? Policies for a sustainable consumption," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 273-287, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Keh-Chin Chang & Wei-Min Lin & Kung-Ming Chung, 2015. "Sustainable Development for Solar Heating Systems in Taiwan," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(2), pages 1-15, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Renewable Energy Self-Sufficiency; energy conservation; inductive longitudinal approach; case study research; energy demand; local value added; regional development; conflicts;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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