The UK’s ability to move to a lower carbon, secure energy system will be affected by inter-dependencies between policy and regulation at national and European levels. This project will investigate the role of material and electoral interests, ideas and institutions in shaping these interactions, within the context of debates over 2030 climate targets, global competitiveness, the future of the utility model in the energy sector, and the future of the EU itself. The project will leverage resources within the EPSRC IGov project, University of Exeter, that involves Prof Catherine Mitchell and Dr Caroline Kuzemko, and build on existing work on understanding the political economy of energy policies. It will extend this to the European level and, in collaboration with Antony Froggatt, EU energy policy expert at Chatham House, apply it to areas that are relevant to other core projects, especially electricity market integration with increasing renewables, regulation of retail markets, energy efficiency and demand side response. Using an evidence base informed by both documentary sources and interviews, the project will investigate how far the politics of interaction between EU and national policy making, and consequent policy outcomes, can be explained by different theoretical approaches, including rational choice institutionalism, discursive institutionalism and historical institutionalism.
A recently published working paper written by Joseph Dutton sets out the path along which EU energy policy has moved since the initial creation of the organisation in the 1950s, detailing the principle documents and legislation upon which the current and proposed policies were constructed.