Elites in Finnish energy policy and biogas as a motor vehicle fuel
The intent of this research was to find out what is the state of Finnish energy policy when reviewing it from the vantage point of biogas as a motor vehicle fuel. It seemed, according to previous research, that Finnish energy policy is lead by an elite and that there was a lack in transparency of energy policy. Therefore, in addition to researching the question of transparency and the possible elite structure, the research questions were: Who are these elites? Why do they exist and what makes others not members of the elite? Within what context do they exist? The question “Who?” will define the elite structure in Finland. “Why?” will tell us why this elite structure exists, thus giving possible solutions to prevent or keep the elite from becoming too strong. “Within what context they exist?” will tell us what are the prerequisites that make it possible for this elite to exist. Within what context do the elites exist? The European Union and the market economy define the framework in which the aforementioned members exist. The EU sets the legislation which defines the political prerequisites and barriers in this area. The market economy sets the financial prerequisites and barriers, but what is profitable and what is not is also related to politics and policies. Policy guides what is profitable and what is not. They are interrelated. This leads to the unified political and economic elite. Who are members of the elite? The power elite of biogas as a motor vehicle fuel consists of the top three ministers and two ministries (Minister and Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Minister and Ministry of Finance and the Prime Minister), the industries which have the biggest effect on the Finnish economy, the interest groups Finnish Energy Industries (ET), the Cabinet, and the political bureaucrats. The level of influence of different actors is related to personal characteristics, education, experience, and knowledge. The actor trying to affect political outcomes has to be strong, educated, and experienced. Experience can also mean being a part of the networks of relevant actors, because becoming a member requires knowing the members of the network. Power is related to the institutional position of the actor or the institution itself. The institution must also be financially strong or be an important institution in society. The more financial resources the actor has to lobby, the more they have influence. The same matters conversely make others not members of the elite. Also, the question about which fuel will be dominant in the future was researched. This was not the intention of this thesis; but, the significance of liquid biofuels arose when doing this research. Liquid biofuels were not directly mentioned in the interviews, but when investigating which fuel the dominant companies produce, and what they have invested in, liquid biofuels were discovered.
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