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The UK and German Low-Carbon Industry Transitions from a Sectoral Innovation and System Failures Perspective

Konstantinos Koasidis (), Alexandros Nikas (), Hera Neofytou (), Anastasios Karamaneas (), Ajay Gambhir (), Jakob Wachsmuth () and Haris Doukas ()
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Konstantinos Koasidis: Decision Support Systems Laboratory, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Iroon Politechniou 9, 15780 Athens, Greece
Alexandros Nikas: Decision Support Systems Laboratory, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Iroon Politechniou 9, 15780 Athens, Greece
Hera Neofytou: Decision Support Systems Laboratory, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Iroon Politechniou 9, 15780 Athens, Greece
Anastasios Karamaneas: Decision Support Systems Laboratory, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Iroon Politechniou 9, 15780 Athens, Greece
Ajay Gambhir: Imperial College London, Grantham Institute, London SW7 2AZ, UK
Jakob Wachsmuth: Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, 76139 Karlsruhe, Germany
Haris Doukas: Decision Support Systems Laboratory, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Iroon Politechniou 9, 15780 Athens, Greece

Energies, 2020, vol. 13, issue 19, 1-34

Abstract: Industrial processes are associated with high amounts of energy consumed and greenhouse gases emitted, stressing the urgent need for low-carbon sectoral transitions. This research reviews the energy-intensive iron and steel, cement and chemicals industries of Germany and the United Kingdom, two major emitting countries with significant activity, yet with different recent orientation. Our socio-technical analysis, based on the Sectoral Innovation Systems and the Systems Failure framework, aims to capture existing and potential drivers of or barriers to diffusion of sustainable industrial technologies and extract implications for policy. Results indicate that actor structures and inconsistent policies have limited low-carbon innovation. A critical factor for the successful decarbonisation of German industry lies in overcoming lobbying and resistance to technological innovation caused by strong networks. By contrast, a key to UK industrial decarbonisation is to drive innovation and investment in the context of an industry in decline and in light of Brexit-related uncertainty.

Keywords: United Kingdom; Germany; systems of innovation; sectoral innovation systems; system failures; industrial transitions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q4 Q40 Q41 Q42 Q43 Q47 Q48 Q49 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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