The term ‘Green Energy Economy’ (GEE) has received increasing policy and scientific attention since the 2008–2009 global financial crisis. At that time, the crisis led to the implementation of numerous ‘green growth’ economic stimulus packages (mostly fiscal incentives) that targeted low-carbon energy technologies (LCET). These policy initiatives were soon framed as the key elements in the transition to a green economy, in which LCET would play a pivotal role. Setting aside various conceptual variations, a GEE has multiple objectives that are often addressed through numerous policies. Achieving a GEE compatible with climate, social and economic goals is an enormous challenge for society, and goes beyond the technological domain.
At present, most policies addressing a GEE are supply-oriented and driven by price mechanisms (e.g. subsidies for renewable energy, carbon tax on fossil fuels). However, there is a great deal of uncertainty about their actual effects and level of stringency. Furthermore, behavioral aspects related to the adoption and use of LCET on the demand side are often overlooked, and non-price interventions are less prominent in policy mixes. Given the various ‘irrationalities’ or ‘anomalies’ of energy users (e.g. lack of self-control, loss aversion, limited attention) that have been identified in numerous interventions, it is clear that much more attention needs to be given to decision-making processes and value- based choices related to LCET per se. In all, more attention needs to be paid to the performance, implications and trade-offs of policies and strategies addressing GEE transitional pathways.