Laima Eicke is a doctoral student and member of the graduate centre "Effective and Innovative Policymaking in Contested Contexts" (EIPCC) at the University of Erfurt. She received the prize, which was awarded for the first time this year, in Prague during the annual General Conference of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR).
Laima Eicke's dissertation deals with the question of what opportunities and risks a global energy transition entails for different groups of countries and what geopolitical changes go hand in hand with it. She analyses value chains of solar, wind and hydrogen technologies as well as their interactions with energy policies. Her paper, which has now been awarded a prize, deals with the question of whether and how policy design influences the effectiveness of green industrial policies. For this purpose, the PhD student compared 27 cases in which countries have applied so-called "local content requirements" (i.e. requirements for domestic production shares) in the wind and solar sector in order to strengthen the competitiveness of local industries over the past 20 years. "China, for example, has managed to achieve a dominant position in wind and solar value chains with the help of these local content requirements," explains Laima Eicke. "But there are also other successful examples, such as Spain or Turkey. In other countries, however, this policy instrument has not been successful, e.g. in South Africa or also Argentina. I explain these different successes regarding the effectiveness of local content requirements with an interplay of policy design elements and political-economic contextual factors based on a qualitative comparative analysis." The results of her work show that local content requirements can lead to the successful establishment of domestic solar and wind industries even in countries with unfavourable market and investment conditions. Nevertheless, the right policy design is important in this group of countries. However, since there is no single "template" that is equally effective for all countries, and since there are different ways to achieve the goal, the policy must always be adapted to the respective country context.
When asked what makes the topic so interesting to her, Laima Eicke doesn't have to think long: "In order to combat climate change, we need a rapid, global energy transition. For a long time, climate and energy policy was framed as an expensive burden, but now more and more countries are seeing that the energy transition also holds economic opportunities and are hoping for green jobs and green industries. For me, it is therefore exciting to analyse the effectiveness of green industrial policy in this paper and to see how the right policy design can contribute to the successful development of green industries."
She is particularly grateful for the award, "Especially as a PhD student and a woman in the energy sector, which is still dominated by men, this is a hopeful sign of recognition of the quality and relevance of my work so far. The award motivates me to continue my work on this paper and in this field in general and to complete my doctorate soon."