Renovation realities: Actors, institutional work and the struggle to transform Finnish energy policy

Laura Kainiemi, Kamilla Karhunmaa*, Sanni Eloneva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Transitions research argues that destabilizing current carbon-intensive regimes is necessary for transforming energy systems. In this study, we analyze how both new and established energy policy actors seek to influence energy transitions in a relatively stable institutional context. Our empirical focus is on Finland, where the governance of energy policy has been characterized as closed and stagnant and is increasingly challenged by novel actors. The analysis is based on expert interviews (n=24), completed with existing literature and other documentary material. We examine the different forms of institutional work actors undertake. Our analysis shows how the existing institutional setting conditions actors’ choices over the endeavors that are worth pursuing. We show how the institutional work approach adds nuance to studying actors’ activities in regime destabilization processes. We find that actors focus on creative institutional work and avoid disruptive activities. While our results confirm a strong commitment to carbon neutrality, the focus on creative institutional work and a lack of disruption point to incremental changes in energy policy and networks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101778
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Early online date3 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Agency
  • Carbon neutrality
  • Destabilization
  • Discourse
  • Energy transitions
  • Politics

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