Energy Policy, Vol.112, 334-348, 2018
The networking dynamics of the Italian biofuel industry in time of crisis: Finding an effective instrument mix for fostering a sustainable energy transition
This paper aims to design the effective instrument mixes for fostering a sustainable energy transition in times of crises. We focus on a sufficiently developed green niche - namely the Italian biofuel sector - implementing a two-step investigation: 1) a social network analysis, to study the effects of the crisis on the basic niche development mechanisms, with the aim of eliciting its development needs; 2) a fuzzy inference simulation based on a causal-effect map drawn from experts' knowledge to identify the most effective instrument mix for the development of the niche studied. The major needs emerged in the case investigated are for an increase of actors' expectations towards the further development of the sector, and a need for a tailored networking activity, devoted to attracting specific knowledgeable actors. The results indicate that, among others, effective policy instruments are, in this case, the cooperation that has the best outcome in terms of networking, and the public procurement, which remarkably increases the level of expectation. The analysis presented constitutes a model to evaluate single policy drivers and their combinations to find adequate policy actions to promote the green energy transition in times of crisis.