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How does falling incumbent profitability affect energy policy discourse?: The discursive construction of nuclear phaseouts and insufficient capacity as a threat in Sweden
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Political Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5065-3646
2023 (English)In: Energy Policy, ISSN 0301-4215, E-ISSN 1873-6777, Vol. 174, article id 113432Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

What happens to energy policy discourse when falling profitability makes it difficult to frame incumbent technologies as necessary for providing affordable energy? And how does this affect energy policy? This article investigates how Swedish energy policy discourse responded to a profitability crisis that struck its incumbent nuclear regime in 2016, and how a political decision to support nuclear power was legitimized. It uses Carol Bacchi’s Foucault-inspired policy analysis to analyse 13 interviews and 31 policy documents, and shows how the crisis was met with the framing of nuclear power as a “plannable” energy source (in contrast with intermittent renewables) that was necessary for ensuring capacity adequacy, and with the construction of an ultimatum: to remove a tax on nuclear power or to see nuclear power phased out so abruptly that the power system would be jeopardized. It explores the discursive and institutional conditions that enabled this framing, argues that similar discourses are likely to be constructed in other contexts where capacity adequacy is a more pressing impediment to energy transitions than in Sweden, and points out that energy research risks reproducing dominant discourses by overstating the merits of incumbent baseload technologies. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2023. Vol. 174, article id 113432
Keywords [en]
Sweden, Nuclear energy, Nuclear fuels, Profitability, Baseload capacity, Baseload capacity adequacy narrative, Capacity adequacy, Carol bacchi WPR approach, Discourse, Intermittency, Nuclear power phaseout, Regime resistance, Renewable energies, Renewable energy intermittency, alternative energy, energy policy, nuclear power, profitability, Energy policy
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-51097DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2023.113432ISI: 000929768000001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85147384373OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-51097DiVA, id: diva2:1739563
Available from: 2023-02-27 Created: 2023-02-27 Last updated: 2023-03-13Bibliographically approved

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Faber, Hugo

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
  • apa-old-doi-prefix.csl
  • sodertorns-hogskola-harvard.csl
  • sodertorns-hogskola-oxford.csl
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf