26.08.2015 RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2015. Session: Mobility, mutation and translation processes of EU renewable energy policies

26.8.2015 at 15:00

Maxim Trishkin

The representatives of University of Eastern Finland, Department of Geography actively participated in RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2015 organized in Exeter. The researcher lead the session on "Mobility, mutation and translation processes of EU renewable energy policies".

Title: EU-Canada Relations: Transnational Energy Translation Loop

Matthew Sawatzky (University of Eastern Finland, Finland)
The official presentation of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada in September 2014 marked a significant moment in the relationship between the two parties. As the culmination of years of hard work, CETA potentially provides common ground for future bilateral work on topics ranging from goods and services to investments to technology and the environment. But this socio-political assemblage also overshadows the profoundly different approaches to renewable energy that exist between the EU and Canada, as does the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and the United States of America. Accordingly, these agreements become sites of potential conflict because of policy mutation and materialisation practices. Using the concepts of translation loops, policy mutation and path dependency to identify the manner in which policies materialise in different locations and affect actors, this presentation examines the effects that EU energy policies have on the EU-Canada relationship, including Canada’s lobbying effort in favour of tar sands development which ran parallel to the CETA negotiations, as well as the development and potentials of bioenergy in Canada with regards to current and future trade with the EU.
Title: Introduction to the research projects: Developing bioenergy governance & Contesting bioenergy governance
Jarmo Kortelainen (University of Eastern Finland, Finland)
Moritz Albrecht (University of Eastern Finland, Finland)
The introduction presents the two research projects: ”Contested Bioenergy Governance” and ”Developing Bioenergy Governance” on which the session’s papers are based. The background and general approach of the projects are discussed, and the case studies in five European countries are presented. Also the researchers and their presentations are briefly introduced.
Title: Bioenergy development from Brussels’ offices to local sites of materialization: Loosing the other end out of sight?
Moritz Albrecht (University of Eastern Finland, Finland)
Along with other renewable energy sources, bioenergy is an important piece of the EU’s renewable energy, climate policy and sustainable development jigsaw puzzle. With bioenergy development increasing throughout the EU, this process generates new transnational spaces of low-carbon energy governance and materialisation. While the common legislative framework is formed in EU institutions in Brussels the role of socio-spatial assemblages that influence and shift governmental rationalities between sites of policy design and implementation sites, become important for the materialisation of policy aims and their effects. In a twofold perspective, confronting EU actors’ rationalities in Brussels with the rationalities of local actors concerned with implementation and vice versa, the presentation critically discusses how local actors in their role as translation loops shift initial rationalities based on their socio-spatially embedded materialisation practices. The implications that derive from these policy mutation processes are seen as a threatening challenge to key aspects of sustainable development, climate and renewable policy as for instance portrayed by a common prioritisation of economic aspects over sustainability concerns as well as insular solutions. Additionally, neglect from EU level institutions to address or recognise loose ends might lead to the promotion of questionable development in many cases.
Title: The renewable energy directive in the national context in Finland
Teijo Rytteri (University of Eastern Finland, Finland)
The Renewable Energy Directive and the discussion on its implementation in Finland provides an example of the problems related to the materialisation of EU governance. In this process the Finnish government chose wood as the primary source of renewable energy. One of the proposed policy instruments to support energy wood utilisation was the “Act on Energy Wood Harvesting Support” which intended to provide financial support for the harvesting of wood for energy production. However, the legislation accepted by the Finnish Parliament was never put into effect because of forest industry’s resistance and the EU’s state subsidy principles. Using complexity theory, this presentation explores how and why the policy failed through the deployment of concepts like path dependency and feedback. It also examines how the new policy aims were embedded within the existing political context, how the policy process generated several rounds of translations which brought new issues and actors into the process, and how the policy evolved. The presentation concludes that the policy faced problems due to the path dependencies of forest and energy policies as well as unexpected events.
Title: The 2020 race and the materialisation of a bio-economy
Jani Lukkarinen (University of Eastern Finland, Finland)
International agreements on climate change (UNFCCC, Kyoto protocol) have been conceptualised as market expansions in the form of new commodities such as carbon trade. The European renewable energy policies – though championed as front-runners in the global battle against climate change – produce similar effects that often materialise in anticipation of new economic opportunities, the promotion of local projects and enforcement of regional programs. However, the renewable energy directive has never truly stabilised its role as a legislative and calculative space governing the material processes of energy production. This is partly due to interpretations, tensions and rejections that policies face while travelling from transnational contexts via national initiatives to local livelihoods and partly due to the emerging 2030 framework that carries a new set of rules and expectations. The regional carbon neutrality programs and bio-refining projects put forward in North Karelia, Eastern Finland provide an example of material developments of bio-economy triggered by the European paradigm of low-carbon economy. This paper takes a regional approach to the twists and turns of carbon reduction policies in Europe.

tag_blue renewable energy, bioenergy governance, Exeter, RGS, bioenergy



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Maxim Trishkin

Maxim Trishkin


The status of bioenergy in Republic of Karelia

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