Exploring sustainability transitions in the electricity sector with socio-technical pathways

Verbong, G P J and Geels, F W (2010) Exploring sustainability transitions in the electricity sector with socio-technical pathways. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 77 (8). pp. 1214-1221. ISSN 0040-1625

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Abstract

This paper analyses sustainability transitions in the electricity system, using recent theories on socio-technical pathways. The paper describes three possible transition pathways and indicates the implications for (grid) infrastructures. The `transformation pathway is characterised by a further hybridization of the infrastructure; in the `reconfiguration pathway, internationalisation and scale increase in renewable generation lead to the emergence of a `Supergrid. The `de-alignment and re-alignment pathway is dominated by distributed generation and a focus on more local infrastructures. We suggest that this pathway, which involves a major restructuring of the electricity system, is less likely than the other two. The de-alignment and re-alignment pathway is therefore more dependent on external developments and/or strong policy interventions. All pathways, however, require major investments in infrastructure and innovative technologies.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Frank Geels
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:29
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2012 14:47
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/16725
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