Research programme

Achieving green growth: the political economy of energy security

16 Jul 2015 - 15:48
Bron: Flickr- Jürgen from Sandesneben, Germany

Research Summary


Green growth is increasingly gaining traction as a way to reconcile the need for ongoing economic growth with environmental goals. This research project aims to identify which green growth options in the energy sector resonate best with political and economic interests, notably energy security considerations, of powerful actors within countries. To identify these a political economy analysis is made in 3 countries with high projected growth. Its findings are combined with an analysis of relevant energy security data and notably the renewable energy and energy efficiency potential in countries. This should give us a better insight in longer-term energy interests with a view to offering credible advice for green growth planning and carbon compatible development.


In the short term, this project will establish a base of political knowledge that will inform the ambition and achievability of green growth policy options in the energy sector in the countries selected. In the longer term, this may help these countries to decarbonise their economic activity and become frontrunners of a low carbon world in a similar manner to other countries like Germany, Denmark and Costa Rica.  These countries and their potential for green growth will subsequently be considered as positive examples for others to follow.

Research question

The principal research question that this project seeks to address is ‘which political economy constrains and enablers influence the ambition, planning and implementation of green growth policy options in the energy sector, and what viable policy options can be identified for a robust green growth trajectory as result?’

Methodology and approach

This project combines a Political Economy Analysis (PEA) with an energy analysis. Relevant factors included in our quantitative analysis are available energy resources, potential for renewable energy and efficiency, energy demand and the energy security position. The (qualitative) PEA will focus on the leverage of the energy sector on government decisions (and vice versa), and will include a network analysis of formal and informal links between them. Sources of information will include existing PEAs, green growth and energy security analysis, energy data, including related import/export and government expenditures, interviews with relevant stakeholders and inputs provided during workshops. All written outputs will be peer reviewed.


Video on the project outreach

Conceptual study

The study entails developing a new approach for carrying out an energy-focused PEA. This should assist countries in their transition to a green growth development path by assessing the interests and incentives of groups in the energy sector and politics. Such a transition has the potential to change a country’s fundamentals which might generate co-benefits for stability and prosperity.

Country studies Colombia, Indonesia and Kenya

This will involve identifying options for robust green growth strategies, how they are to be framed and which actors have the influence to pursue them (or block them). Findings are to be used to incentivise early action and as a catalyst for other countries to follow.

Final policy brief and dissemination video

Publishing a policy brief and key findings at a public event in the Hague, London or en marge of a UNFCCC meeting. The key findings are to be disseminated to national policy-makers, donors, media, and other (academic) researchers in order to create outreach for the opportunities enshrined in inclusive green growth to reconcile the need for economic growth with sustainable development goals.