Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Centre for Innovation Research

No 2020/12: Facing transition phase two: Analysing actor strategies in a stagnating acceleration phase

Meike Löhr () and Jannika Mattes ()
Additional contact information
Meike Löhr: Carl von Ossietzky University, Postal: Germany
Jannika Mattes: Carl von Ossietzky University, Postal: Germany

Abstract: Energy transition processes are currently entering into a new phase which is characterised by the maturation of renewable energy technologies and the challenges of system integration and regulatory changes, in particular the introduction of tender schemes for onshore wind energy. In the German wind energy sector, these policy changes are resulting in a drop in build-out during a phase in which acceleration instead of stagnation would be expected. Furthermore, insolvencies, dismissals and relocations are taking place among major wind actors and are increasing uncertainty within the sector. This paper analyses how actors in the wind sector are reacting to the introduction of the tender scheme and how their strategic activities are affecting the transition process. To this end, we analyse four strategies: relocation, cooperation, business field diversification and exit. Specifically, we analyse the reactions of project developers, turbine manufacturers, energy utilities and banks. We show that the strategies chosen by crucial wind energy actors may actually be slowing down the transition process rather than accelerating it. We argue that adopting an actor strategy perspective enables new insights for sustainability transition research while at the same time highlighting implications for public policy and strategic management.

Keywords: energy transition; sustainability transitions; actor strategies; acceleration; onshore wind; transition phase

JEL-codes: O23; O33; Q01

44 pages, November 16, 2020

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