Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Policy Instrument Supply and Demand: How the Renewable Electricity Auction Took over the World

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Abstract:  The selection and design of renewable electricity support instruments is an important part of European Union (EU) energy policy and central to the governance of the Energy Union. In 2014, the European Commission published updated guidelines for state aid that effectively mandate the EU-wide implementation of auctions for allocating revenue support to commercial scale renewable electricity generation. This article argues that the RES auction’s rapid ascent towards dominance is explained by a coincidence of an activist interpretation of EU state aid law creating demand for knowledge about the instrument and the emergence of a ready source of supply from a burgeoning community of a RES auction specialists and experts. Knowledge gained through EU-wide implementation of auctions further adds to supply of auctions expertise among the community. The implications of positive feedback between instrument demand and the growing supply of knowledge about an instrument reinforces the importance of critical engagement between policymakers and policy experts.

Keywords:  auctions; European Union; governance instruments; instrument constituencies; renewable energy; state aid



© Oscar W Fitch-Roy, David Benson, Bridget Woodman. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.