Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2012


Policymakers have long been interested in promoting renewable energy development. Yet it is only over the last two decades that interest has fully bloomed, leading to new policy instruments designed to promote increased generation in an economically efficient manner. Two environmental leaders, California and Germany, are identified as models in this field. Both have shown remarkable growth in generating capacity. Yet a closer examination of policy developments reveals marked differences in the way actors have pursued their interests to shape policy outcomes. This paper discusses both models in detail, exploring the ways political interests became involved in the policymaking process. It then evaluates relevant political institutions and their corresponding role in shaping the formulation of renewable energy policy. Taken together, this analysis demonstrates how policy models can diverge based on the institutional frameworks within which they operate. While most literature in this area focuses on the economic impacts of these policies, this paper adds to the literature by examining the role that actors and institutions play in driving the political process.