Too difficult to govern? An assessment of the governability of transport biofuels in the EU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Transport biofuels are currently the subject of heated debate in the EU. In the past decade the deployment of these technologies has been justified by claims of attractive environmental, geopolitical and rural development benefits. However, expectations have rapidly turned into deep criticism regarding the sustainability of these technologies and the desirability of pursuing the biofuel path. This situation has generated an on-going controversy and policy deadlock at EU level. This study explores these issues from a governance perspective. Employing the concept of system governability, derived from interactive governance theory, it attempts to shed some light on the problems facing the governance of biofuels and on how the quality of the governance system could be improved. The analysis showed that the governability of the system decreased substantially in the period 2003-2012 due to increasing governing needs and decreasing governing capacity. The quality of the governance system can be improved by (i) improving governing capacity by reducing conflicts among governing actors, advancing consistency among institutions and creating capacity at international and global level; and (ii) promoting advanced technologies and adjusting societal ambitions and expectations regarding biofuels. (c) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Lorenzo Di Lucia
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Energy Systems


  • Governability, Transport biofuels, Controversy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-88
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch