Partnerships in implementing sustainability policies – theoretical considerations and experiences from Spain
Valentina Dinica and Hans Bressers, Twente University, Netherlands
The greening of economic and industrial activities requires that new relationships be formed between private actors who often never met before on the business or policy arenas. To initiate and give direction to the sustainability transition, public actors may choose to become involved in partnerships for policy implementation, next to industrial prime movers. After having catalyzed the process, new forms of public-private partnerships may emerge, in the transition towards ‘green private-private partnerships’. This paper presents theoretical considerations regarding the types and evolution of public-private partnerships (PPPs) involved in the implementation of sustainability policies. The central argument is that PPPs are themselves in a process of transition, with changes in the types of activity, types of investment and types of financing on which partnerships focus. Empirically, the paper analyses the greening of electricity industry in Spain and looks specifically at the cases of wind electricity and biomass technologies’ diffusion. The evolution of PPPs shows clearly that there is a transition from ‘project-vehicle-partnerships’ to ‘technology-specific-partnerships’ to ‘renewables-development-partnerships’. In parallel there is a transition from ‘internally-financed-partnerships’ towards ‘bank-financed-partnerships’ with a substantially higher diffusion potential. Finally, another transition was observed from ‘learning-partnerships’ towards ‘commercialization-partnerships’. As the greening of the electricity industry advances, there is a gradual retreat of public actors and an increase in new green private-private-partnerships. The paper fits into the conference theme regarding the dynamics for public-private partnerships. In the same time it is relevant for the theme regarding the implementation of public policies and technologies to promote sustainable development. Understanding the metamorphosis of partnerships supports policy-makers to design policies facilitating wider engagement in PPPs, a more secure operation environment and a faster transition towards new green private-private partnerships in industrial activities. The paper draws in postdoctoral research and is aimed for the workshop “Dynamics of public-private partnerships in implementing sustainability policies”.
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