This editorial for the Special Issue entitled ‘Energy Decentralization – Institutional Perspectives’ in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews contrasts and compares thirteen research and review articles submitted over the last year, each with a specific regional or thematic focus. The contributions examine decentralization, its impacts and/or institutional preconditions in the United States, Sweden, UK, Denmark, South Africa, Germany, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Australia, and include three international thematic reviews. Embedding the findings from this work in the wider literature on decentralization and inclusivity, we identify key findings and avenues for further research. Our review begins with an overview of how energy decentralization is conceptualized in research and policy, identifying the logics used by proponents and opponents across the literature. We review the ways in which structural institutional settings have influenced the prevalence of narratives furthered by stakeholders with different interests and worldviews, resulting in radically different policy decisions, support frameworks and incentive structures at regional or national scales. Building on these findings, our concluding discussion reflects on the factors that influence social consensus on, and effective implementation of, ambitious and inclusive energy policy. The focus of this Special Issue has become yet more relevant as governments around the world are forced to marry multiple crises in fiscal spending decisions; where significant economic support packages need to buffer the socio-economic impacts of COVID19 in the short to medium term, and simultaneously facilitate investment in infrastructure, technology and competencies that will enable the decarbonization of the economy.

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews Vol 138
Berka, M. Dreyfus


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