Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 97, December 2018,
Despite a major, policy-driven increase in research on the food–energy–water (FEW) nexus in recent years, research addressing the required changes in policy structures and processes for an effective, integrated governance of FEW nexus resources is still in its infancy. This paper adapts the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework to the requirements and challenges of FEW nexus governance and sets a special focus on action situations, actors, and institutions. The analysis thus contributes to the debate about the practicality and benefits of a comprehensive FEW nexus policy approach. Two different conceptual FEW nexus frameworks are developed, which span the spectrum of possible integration options. The first one describes a holistic integration framework that defines the FEW nexus as a single, fully integrated system. The second one represents vertical policy integration and is largely based on existing structures and a reframing of the present institutional setting. After their theoretical derivation, the two hypothetical frameworks are analyzed with respect to their strengths and weaknesses in governing the FEW nexus using two sample cases of integrated FEW nexus governance in Germany. The results show that effective FEW nexus governance requires a combination of both integration options.