Shaping and Exploiting Technological Opportunities: The Case of Renewable Energy Technology in Sweden
Doctoral thesis, 2002
This thesis focuses on how the Swedish capital goods industry exploits (or fails to exploit) opportunities within renewable energy technology to build new growth industries and how it, in that process, shapes the diffusion of such technologies on the market.
The thesis consists of a covering paper and the work contained in four appended papers. In the first of the appended papers, an analytical framework for the study of energy system transformation is developed and some key issues for research are identified. The second paper provides an overview of the inducement and blocking mechanisms present in the Swedish innovation system for bioenergy technology, wind turbines and solar collectors. The third paper is a comparative analysis of the evolution of the German, Dutch and Swedish wind turbine industries. The fourth paper is a study of the development of black liquor gasification technology in Sweden.
Together, these papers increase the understanding of the mechanisms inducing and blocking capital goods industry development and the diffusion of renewable energy technology. Four major observations can be made: (1) The Swedish capital goods industry has, so far, not been particularly successful in exploiting the opportunities and has not been able to shape the local innovation system to allow for the rapid diffusion of renewable energy technology in Sweden (with the possible exception of bioenergy). (2) Industry development and technology diffusion are dependent on the innovation system as a whole, and policy and strategy should, therefore, not be limited to the individual parts of the system. (3) A key objective in attending to the system as a whole should be to set self-sustaining virtuous circles in motion. (4) With respect to this, key issues for policy and strategy are to reduce uncertainty, increase the new technologies' legitimacy and stimulate market formation.
capital goods industry