Completed Research Projects - Energy and Climate Change Policies

Future Energy Policy: how to make change happen? The acceptance of alternative electricity supply

The overarching question in this project is about how effective policy change towards renewable energy can be achieved. In this vein, we start with the idea that effective policy change leading to the realization of regional and local renewable energy projects can be determined by assessing different aspects of “social acceptance”. We argue that – besides technology acceptance by the market – the acceptance of policies and instrument mixes is a crucial pre-condition for project success. So we concentrate on the acceptance of policies and instrument mixes (e.g., regulatory and incentive measures) by (1) the political elite involved in energy policy decision-making (socio-political acceptance) and by (2) citizens as expressed through their vote or other political intervention (community acceptance).

Project Start: December 2014 - December 2017
Funding: NRP 71 SNF
Team: Karin Ingold, Lorenz Kammermann
Project lead: Isabelle Stadelmann-Steffen (Universität Bern)
Project partners: Clau Dermont (University of Bern);  Philip Thalmann (EPFL); Stefan Rieder (Interface Politikstudien)

Related publications:

  • Kammermann, L.; Ingold, K. (2019). Going beyond technocratic and democratic principles: Stakeholder acceptance of instruments in Swiss energy policy. Policy Sciences, 52(1), 43-65. DOI:10.1007/s11077-018-9341-5.
  • Ingold, K.; Stadelmann-Steffen, I.; Kammermann, L. (2018). The acceptance of instruments in instrument mix situations: Citizens’ perspective on Swiss energy transition. Research Policy, online. DOI:10.1016/j.respol.2018.10.018.
  • Kammermann, L.; Dermont, C. (2018). How beliefs of the political elite and citizens on climate change influence support for Swiss energy transition policy. Energy Research & Social Science, 43, 48-60. DOI:10.1016/j.erss.2018.05.010.
  • Dermont, C.; Ingold, K.; Kammermann, L.; Stadelmann-Steffen, I. (2017). Bringing the policy making perspective in: A political science approach to social acceptance. Energy Policy, 108, 359-368. DOI:10.1016/j.enpol.2017.05.062.
  • Markard, J.; Suter, M.; Ingold, K. (2016). Socio-technical transitions and policy change – Advocacy coalitions in Swiss energy policy. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 18, 215-237. DOI:10.1016/j.eist.2015.05.003.

The Politics of Hydraulic fracturing

Unconventional gas is extracted using new and controversial technologies of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Fracking allows extracting sizable resources of natural gas from basins that were considered to be difficult or costly to exploit before. On the one hand, the extraction of unconventional gas can have important implications for the global energy market and geopolitical world map. On the other hand, fracking involves potential environmental risks such as the contamination of surface waters and aquifers, the causation of seismic activity, or the generation of fugitive methane emissions. The uncertainty with respect to the environmental impacts caused by fracking poses considerable challenges to political decision-making processes regulating fracking activities by increasing the difficulties in anticipating the behavior of actors and selecting appropriate policy instruments to tackle the uncertain problem.
This research project examines fracking politics in the UK and Switzerland. We ask which political conflicts and coalitions exist with respect to fracking regulation, what the resources and strategies of the actors and coalitions are, and how scientific and behavioral uncertainties influence political decision-making on this issue.

Project Start: September 2013 – December 2016
Team: Karin Ingold, Manuel Fischer
Project partners and associate members: P. Cairney (University of Stirling); T. Heykkila and C. Weible (University of Colorado Denver)

Related Publications:

  • Weible, C.M.; Heikkila, T.; Ingold, K.; Fischer, M. (2016). Policy Debates on Hydraulic Fracturing. Comparing Coalition Politics in North America and Europe. Palgrave Macmillan. DOI:10.1057/978-1-137-59574-4.
  • Weible, C.M.; Heikkila, T.; Ingold, K.; Fischer, M. (2016). “Introduction”. In: Policy Debates on Hydraulic Fracturing, ed. C.M. Wible, T. Heikkila, K. Ingold and M. Fischer. Palgrave Macmillan, 1-27. DOI:10.1057/978-1-137-59574-4_1.
  • Cairney, P.; Fischer, M.; Ingold, K. (2016). “Hydraulic Fracturing Policy in the United Kingdom: Coalition, Cooperation, and Opposition in the Face of Uncertainty”. In: Policy Debates on Hydraulic Fracturing, ed. C.M. Weible, T. Heikkila, K. Ingold and M. Fischer. Palgrave Macmillan, 81-113. DOI:10.1057/978-1-137-59574-4_4.
  • Ingold, K.; Fischer, M. (2016). “Belief Conflicts and Coalition Structures Driving Subnational Policy Responses: The Case of Swiss Regulation of Unconventional Gas Development”. In: Policy Debates on Hydraulic Fracturing, ed. C.M. Weible, T. Heikkila, K. Ingold and M. Fischer. Palgrave Macmillan, 201-237. DOI:10.1057/978-1-137-59574-4_8.
  • Ingold, K.; Fischer, M.; Heikkila, T.; Weible, C.M. (2016). “Assessments and Aspirations”. In: Policy Debates on Hydraulic Fracturing, ed. C.M. Weible, T. Heikkila, K. Ingold and M. Fischer. Palgrave Macmillan, 239-264. DOI:10.1057/978-1-137-59574-4_9.
  • Cairney, P.; Ingold, K.; Fischer, M. (2016). Fracking in the UK and Switzerland: why differences in policymaking systems don't always produce different outputs and outcomes. Policy and Politics, online. DOI:10.1332/030557316X14793989976783.
  • Ingold, K.; Fischer, M.; Cairney, P. (2016). Drivers for Policy Agreement in Nascent Subsystems: An Application of the Advocacy Coalition Framework to Fracking Policy in Switzerland and the UK. Policy Studies Journal, 45(2), 442-463. DOI:10.1111/psj.12173.