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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

  • 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)

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    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.

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    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 5 (May)
    Pages: 888-916

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:4:y:2012:i:5:p:888-916:d:17550
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    1. Sanne, Christer, 2002. "Willing consumers--or locked-in? Policies for a sustainable consumption," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 273-287, August.
    2. 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.
    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. 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.
    5. Jeroen Bergh, 2011. "Energy Conservation More Effective With Rebound Policy," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(1), pages 43-58, January.
    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. Pettigrew, Andrew M., 1997. "What is a processual analysis?," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 337-348, December.
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