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)
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)