Inter-policy Coordination Around Renewable Energies (ICARE)

Many local renewable energy projects face significant conflicts with environment, landscape, land-use, or cultural heritage. The project aims to better understand these conflicts and to identify the conditions for success of these projects.



Decarbonisation of the energy system can only be possible and efficient if enough local renewable energy projects (REPs) are realized before 2050. However, many REPs face significant implementation problems because different public policies are not sufficiently coordinated. Frequent recourses to courts show that REPs are in conflict with environment, landscape, land-use, water, or cultural heritage policies. This research project aims to identify the necessary and sufficient conditions for inter-policy coordination sustaining the realization of eight local REPs. It compares successful and unsuccessful REPs, both in Swiss cantons (BE, FR, VD and NE) and abroad (Canada and France), and for four energy vectors (wind power, agriculture biomass, geothermal power and building-integrated photovoltaics). Each case study focuses on three challenges to inter-policy coordination: economic, spatial, and cognitive coordination. The empirical findings of this comparative study of eight REPs will be translated into best practices and guidelines for local REP promoters and public authorities.

Course of action

The proposed research seeks to answer the following questions: - Why do REPs that aim for near-term decarbonisation fail to adequately integrate the requirements of other public policies? - What configurations of economic, spatial, and cognitive coordination lead to the successful realization of REPs? - How can this cross-policy coordination be implemented at the local REP realization level? To answer these questions, we conduct different case studies on four energy vectors (wind, agricultural biomass, geothermal and building integrated photovoltaics). One case corresponds to an REP that is potentially beneficial to the short-term decarbonization of the energy system. We pre-select REPs that face similar challenges (in terms of inter-policy coordination issues). We further consider that each energy source faces a particular type of competition between public policies. The cases studies are in Switzerland, France and Canada. We choose these two other countries because of their past practices (i.e., successful REPs), and because their regulatory frameworks have been adapted to meet the challenges of cross-sectoral policy coordination. We take at least one successful case (the REP is built or in the construction phase because the authorization procedures have been fully completed and it has been validated by the highest executive, legislative or judicial authorities), and one case in difficulty (either a proven failure or a case awaiting final authorization).

This project contributes to the following SDGs

  • 7: Affordable and clean energy
  • 13: Climate action