Although China and the EU differ vastly in their preconditions for environmental governance and investment, both have expanded their capacity for wind-power generation greatly over the past decade. The EU member-states have generally been regarded as modern and prosperous, with high and stable energy consumption and large, high-tech wind industries. China, in contrast, is an emerging economy under authoritarian rule, with rapidly-increasing energy consumption and comparatively little domestic R&D in wind turbine technology. What can explain the fast development of wind-power production capacity in the EU and in China, despite the very different political systems and basic preconditions? Applying the method of ‘most-different systems design’, this paper shows how, in both regions, large-scale investment in wind power has come about through a specific set of political motivations. These include strong governmental support policies based on similar main aims, like security of energy supply, creating future-oriented industries and employment, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and local pollution. Combined these three factors together, broadly perceived might also explain political motivations driving rapid investment in new renewable energy sources elsewhere.
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