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What drives the development of renewable energy technologies?: Toward a typology for the systemic drivers
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Sustainability and Industrial Dynamics. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain .
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Sustainability and Industrial Dynamics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1226-2799
2014 (English)In: Renewable & sustainable energy reviews, ISSN 1364-0321, E-ISSN 1879-0690, Vol. 38, 834-847 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

At present, governments are embarking on the ambitious undertaking of increasing their countries' market share of renewable energy. Political ambitions, however, are just one of the driving forces for energy companies' to engage in innovative climate projects. Energy companies' perceptions of business opportunities are dependent on a set of factors that influence their innovation ambitions. This research operationalizes previous work on the main drivers of the establishment of Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs), with the aim of presenting an overview of the typical systemic drivers within a technological innovation system (TIS) framework. This leads to the proposal of a comprehensive typology and categorization of drivers of RETs. The typology is validated empirically by analyzing data on the development of four types of RETs (wind, solar, biomass and wave energy) in eight European countries (EU-7 and Ireland). The study's results shed light on the multilateral drivers behind the development of RETs. Furthermore, a cross-case comparative study reveals the differences between drivers of RETs and the patterns of these drivers in different countries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 38, 834-847 p.
Keyword [en]
Technological innovation system, Renewable energy technology, Drivers, Barriers and climate change
National Category
Energy Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-154371DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2014.07.023ISI: 000341676100066ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84905024020OAI: diva2:757090

QC 20141021

Available from: 2014-10-21 Created: 2014-10-20 Last updated: 2016-01-19Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Who is in the driver's seat?: Insights into the mixed outcomes of renewable policy instruments in the electricity industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Who is in the driver's seat?: Insights into the mixed outcomes of renewable policy instruments in the electricity industry
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

There is consensus about a need to reduce the amount of green-house gas emission in the electricity industry to be able to deal with the probable consequences of climate change. This necessitates extensive investments in technologies used to generate electricity from renewable energy sources (RES-E). To stimulate such investments, governments have enacted several policy instruments. However, the outcomes of these instruments are mixed. This thesis delineates two reasons for the different effects of policies. First, the development of the renewable electricity industry hinges on a set of driving forces that differ across regions, through the years and for different actors. Given that, policy instruments are not only driving forces behind the renewable electricity industry and can thus by themselves not explain its development.

Second, RES-E investors comprise a heterogeneous group of actors whose perceptions of business opportunities vary substantially and are also based on a variety of driving forces. Hence, RES-E investors may react differently to changes within the electricity industry, as well as to government policies that aim to create a more sustainable electricity industry. Garnering a better understanding of these reactions is therefore important as they influence the pace of transition to a more sustainable electricity industry.

This is an interdisciplinary study that brings together several theories and research areas. First, using the technological innovation system perspective, it identifies systemic driving forces behind the development of the renewable energy industry that will also accelerate the electricity industry transitions to sustainability. To gain a better insight into the role of policy instruments as such as well as in relation to other driving forces, this thesis explores what factors are accounted for in attempts to assess the instruments’ performance. Second, drawing on sustainability transition studies and dynamic capability theories, this thesis seeks to explore which firms are willing to contribute—and capable of contributing—to sustainability transitions in the electricity industry. The thesis argues that good forecast and policy plans need to be built on a solid understanding of the firms that change the structure of the electricity industry through their RES-E investments.

This thesis leverages a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods. Empirical data are collected through two extensive literature reviews on the driving forces of the renewable energy industry development in Europe, a longitudinal case study on a European multinational energy company, and statistical analyses of data on RES-E investors in Sweden. The thesis makes theoretical, methodological, and empirical contributions to this area of research. The findings explain what motivates the development of the renewable energy industry; who competes in the renewable electricity industry; and what the future renewable electricity industry may look like. The thesis outlines implications for policies, for managers as well as for renewable energy technologies. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. xi, 115 p.
TRITA-IEO, ISSN 1100-7982 ; 2015:12
Electricity from renewable energy sources, sustainability transitions, actors, institutions, dynamic capabilities, energy policy, investors, technological innovation system
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Energy Technology; Industrial Engineering and Management
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-179723 (URN)978-91-7595-814-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-02-12, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)

This research was conducted within the framework of the “European Doctorate in Industrial Management” - EDIM - which is funded by The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of European Commission under Erasmus Mundus Action 1 programme. 

QC 20160119

Available from: 2016-01-19 Created: 2015-12-22 Last updated: 2016-02-12Bibliographically approved

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