Political barriers to clean energy transitions

Table of contents

List of Figures and Tables
Chapter 1: The Puzzle of Tepid and Stalled Energy Transitions
Chapter 2: Policy Environments and Clean Energy Performance: The Energy Paradox of Turkey
Chapter 3: Why and How Politics Matters for Energy Transitions
Chapter 4: When the Moment is Right: Drivers of Renewable Energy Reform in Turkey
Chapter 5: Why Renewables Take a Back Seat: Obstacles to Further Reform in Turkey
Chapter 6: In Search of An Energy Transition That is Sustainable


Why do governments insist on fossil fuels? Why do renewables face uncertain and inconsistent legal and regulatory circumstances that slow their market-share growth against fossil fuels? Oksan Bayulgen studies the political determinants of partial energy reforms that result in tepid energy transitions and shifts the geographical focus from front-runner countries of energy innovation to developing countries, which have become the largest carbon emitters in the world. Her in-depth case study of energy policies in Turkey over the past two decades demonstrates that energy transitions are neither inevitable nor linear and that they are often initiated if and only when promoting renewables is in the interests of governing elites and stall when political dividends associated with energy rents change. This book contributes to the debates on the nature and pace of energy transitions by analyzing the power dynamics and political institutions under which energy reforms are initiated and implemented over time. This timely topic will be of interest to scholars, policymakers, energy investors, and anyone interested in environmental studies.

Oksan Bayulgen is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut.

“Political science has much to say about how energy transitions will unfold across the globe. Oksan Bayulgen’s timely, insightful contribution attests to this potential. By employing canonical concepts of political science such as coalition building, redistribution, bureaucratic politics, and critical junctures, she demonstrates why states are unable to produce sustainable transition policies despite a backdrop of favorable economic and technological conditions.”
—Emre Hatipoglu, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center

- Emre Hatipoglu

“I applaud Professor Bayulgen for taking us outside the Western world to look at green energy transitions. To reverse global warming requires sufficient buy-in from non-Western countries. Her analysis is theoretically informed and empirically rich. It is a must-read for students of Turkish politics and for those who like to understand green energy transitions.”
—Christoph Stefes, University of Colorado Denver

- Christoph Stefes

“Bayulgen tackles head-on the challenges of fossil fuel persistence and clean energy ambivalence in Turkish energy policy and offers a much-needed perspective on the partial reform path many countries are on. This comprehensive, well-researched, and eloquent book highlights the importance of agency, political power, and institutions to clean energy performance.”
—Indra Øverland, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

- Indra Overland

Twisting in the Wind criticizes the predominance of technological and market-based explanations and aims to establish that transition to clean energy is a political process.”

—Hande Paker, Bahçeşehir University

- Hande Paker