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Resolving the policy paradox: the case of biofuel production in Ireland

Alan J. Gilmer (Environmental Sustainability and Health Institute, College of Engineering and Built Environment, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland)
Mark J. McGarrity (College of Engineering and Built Environment, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland)
Vivienne Byers (College of Business, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland)

International Journal of Energy Sector Management

ISSN: 1750-6220

Article publication date: 7 November 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine the status of policy design and policy implementation in the biofuel sector in Ireland. The focus of the work addresses the overarching operational context of the biofuel sector in Ireland and the role of different actors in shaping and resolving inconsistencies in policy outlook and practice.

Design/methodology/approach

This study used a qualitative research approach involving a series of semi-structured interviews with members of the relevant sub-groups concerned. This study sought to address two questions – whether current or proposed policy is likely to affect consumption of indigenous biofuel feedstocks in the biofuel sector and what are the controlling factors in the demand for indigenous feedstocks for biofuel.

Findings

Outcomes suggest that while Irish government policy recognises the need to support the development of renewable energy, it also operates under a number of parallel and potentially inconsistent paradigms in relation to biofuels as a renewable energy commodity. It is contended that the outcome of this position is a lack of coherent and coordinated policy in the area of biofuel production, including second generation biofuel using indigenous feedstocks.

Originality/value

This paper provides a new cross sectoral perspective on the status of biofuel policy in Ireland with particular reference to second generation biofuel feedstocks. It focuses analysis on the nature of policy-operational inconsistencies and the need for a deeper ecological perspective in governance.

Keywords

Citation

Gilmer, A.J., McGarrity, M.J. and Byers, V. (2016), "Resolving the policy paradox: the case of biofuel production in Ireland", International Journal of Energy Sector Management, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 659-677. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJESM-07-2015-0003

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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