Basic information on the project
DESSCtrl (say “DESS-Control”) stands for “Public Control over the Decentralization of Electricity Systems in Switzerland”. It’s an SNF- and SFOE-funded dissertation research project at the Universities of Berne and Basel. It investigates the role and importance of the Swiss political institution of federalism within wind energy authorization procedures and their effectiveness. The main focus is put on evaluating the (effective) functioning of administrative implementation networks charged with wind energy authorizations. The final product will be a book that is expected to be published in spring 2023.
Research started in the fall of 2018. Empirical data collection started in April 2020 and ended in December 2021. Currently, the project is in the analysis phase. The writing of dissertation chapters has started in November 2021. A delay of a few months has been incurred due to the pandemic’s initial upheavals, i.e. the availability of experts in the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The are five empirical stages to the project. I could deepen and extend empirical collection due to additional project funding by the Swiss federal department of energy (SI50214-01).
- I conducted in-depth desk research, consulting all possible existing data on wind energy authorization procedures in Switzerland predominantly, where the data situation proved dire, but also in Europe, where more quantitative data were readily available. This includes data on concurrent political development, judicial cases, details on cantonal procedure, among many other data points.
- 21 in-depth interviews (online) with European wind energy authorization experts in 19 different European countries were conducted and analysed. Snowballing was used as an expert identification strategy.
- For each existing wind energy project in Switzerland, I contacted developers, cantons, municipalities and federal commissions charged with the evaluation of 78 projects. Its aim was to conduct basic data about how the authorization procedure was going and at what point in time key events of these procedures took place. For this, 318 people were contacted from 194 different organization. Depending on project advancement and stakeholder category, different surveys were sent out. Additionally, the survey was held in Italian, French and German, resulting in a total of 13 different versions. The response rate was 62.5% (AAPOR 2).
- Another survey collected network-style data on 30 of the most advanced wind energy projects in Switzerland. All stakeholder groups (federal commissions, cantons, municipalities, NGO opponents and NGO proponents) that were visibly involved in an authorization procedure of said projects were contacted. The survey was extensively filtered, resulting in over 30 versions of the project, depending on language, stakeholder group and project advancement. Here, the response rate was 54.5% (AAPOR 2).
- 20 Interviews with Swiss experts (cantons, developers, NGO opponents, federal agencies) on the matter were conducted, to validate findings of the surveys, but mostly to get additional qualitative information on the “déroulement” of the procedures, in which these stakeholders were involved.
Schmid, Jonas. 2022. “Onshore Wind Energy Growth in (De)centralized European Political Systems: Facilitating or Impeding Growth?.” Conference paper for the Annual Conference of the Swiss Political Science Association, 3-4 February, Lausanne (held online).
Schmid, Jonas. 2021. “Systematizing impacts of decentralization on the effectiveness of policy-implementation.” Conference paper for the Annual Conference of the Swiss Political Science Association, 4-5 February, Berne (held online).
Schmid, Jonas. 2020a. “Detecting Patterns of Territorial Organization in Administrative Practice: Practical Federalism as a New Policy Analysis Perspective.” Conference paper for the Annual General Conference of the European Consortium for Political Research, 24-28 August, Innsbruck, Austria (held online).
Schmid, Jonas 2020b. “The Effect of Decentralization on Wind Energy Authorization Procedures across Europe.” Conference paper for the Annual General Conference of the European Consortium for Political Research, 24-28 August, Innsbruck, Austria (held online).
Schmid, Jonas. 2020c. “Federalism Doesn’t Matter? The Visibility and Significance of Federal Organization in Wind Energy Capacity Deployment across Europe.” Conference paper for the Annual Meeting of the Environmental Politics and Governance Conference, 24-26 June, Kleivstua, Norway (held online).
Schmid, Jonas. 2020d. “Patterns of Territorial Organization in Administrative Practice: Introducing Practical Federalism.” Conference paper for the Annual Conference of the Swiss Political Science Association, 3-4 February, Lucerne.
Additional chapter / research / communication presentations:
Schmid, Jonas. 2021a. “Practical Federalism: the role of federalism in administrative problem-solving.” Chapter presentation at the IPW Research Seminar, October 15, Berne.
Schmid, Jonas. 2021b. “Onshore wind energy growth in (de)centralized European political systems: facilitating or impeding growth?” Chapter presentation at the Research colloquium of Prof Dr. Aya Kachi, University of Basel, October 28, Basel.
Schmid, Jonas. 2020a. “Practical Federalism: the role of federalism in administrative problem-solving.” Chapter presentation at the IPW Research Seminar, October 15, Berne.
Schmid, Jonas. 2020b. “Le Projet de Recherche ‘DessCtrl’ – Contenu, Implications, Bénéfices et Participation.” Research project presentation presented at the Suisse Eole Workshop within the “commission des entreprises” (Swiss wind energy association), 20 February, Berne.
Schmid, Jonas. 2019a. “A procedural view of federalism – proposing a novel research perspective.” Theory concept presentation presented at the 2nd workshop of the Swiss research group on federalism, December 19, Berne.
Schmid, Jonas. 2019b. “The Practical Workings of Federalism in the Field of Wind Energy in
Switzerland: A Cantonal Comparison.” Guest speaker presentation presented at the Research Colloquium of the Chair of Prof. Dr. Karin Ingold at EAWAG and University of Berne, October 22, Berne/Dübendorf.
Schmid, Jonas. 2019c. “Wind Power in Switzerland: Analyzing Impacts of Cantonal Procedural Practices.” Proposal presentation presented at the PhD Colloquium of the Chairs of Profs. Vatter and Freitag, June 6, Berne.