Chile is currently undergoing a renewable energy boom. Today, it’s the second largest market for renewable energies in Latin America, and in 2016 Chile was the top-scoring renewable energy producer in the Americas and second in the world, beaten only by China. Two decades ago, when this process started, this transformation was unthinkable.
An article in Policy Studies Journal helps to explain the Chilean transformation by discussing the concept of “contingent coalitions”—collective actors with conflicting but partly overlapping agendas and interests that may contingently coalesce to foster those interests and/or beliefs that they share.
The article’s authors—Aldo Madariaga and Mathilde Allain—show that the contingent coalitions crafted by environmental organizations in Chile have been crucial for fostering renewable energy policy at two moments where key innovations were introduced.
“The official understanding of the Chilean renewable success story highlights the role of a few government entrepreneurs, but this has hidden the crucial role played by environmental organizations and social movements in pushing this process,” said Prof. Madariaga, of the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, in Mexico, and the Universidad Mayor, in Chile. “In this article, we unveil this story and show how they managed to increase their political clout and policy influence by forming what we call contingent coalitions.”