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Which investors contribute to the transition to a more sustainable electricity industry?: Evidence of investments in Swedish wind power
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Sustainability and Industrial Dynamics. Universidad Politecnica de Madrid.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3146-2307
Manchester University.
Utrecht University.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In order to facilitate the transition to electricity industries with low CO2 emissions, it is important to understand which firms invest in renewable energy technologies, and which firms are responsive to energy policies. This study concentrates on the heterogeneous characteristics of investors in wind power that are embedded in the investors’ dynamic capabilities. The paper explores which investors respond to changes in energy policy aimed at a more sustainable electricity industry, and accordingly invest in wind power. Empirical data is collected on investments in the Swedish wind power industry and on prices in the Swedish tradable certificate system. The findings demonstrate that the cumulative wind power assets are influenced by investors’ characteristics. Investors with higher investment experience and a mixed generation portfolio whose business is dedicated to electricity generation hold a higher share of assets in wind. The results also indicate that the investors’ age in the wind power industry has a negative relation with the cumulative assets in wind, offering evidence on the important role of new entrants in this industry. This study offers insights for policy makers by showing, which investors are responsive to the certificate system and invest in wind. We also argue that a more diversified set of policies may stimulate a greater variety of firms to invest in wind power. 

Keyword [en]
Investors; dynamic capabilities; energy policy; wind power; incumbents; new entrants.
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Industrial Engineering and Management
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-179726OAI: diva2:886406

QS 2016

Available from: 2015-12-22 Created: 2015-12-22 Last updated: 2016-02-18Bibliographically 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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