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Innovating incumbents and technological complementarities: How recent dynamics in the HVDC industry can inform transition theories

Allan Andersen and Jochen Markard
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Jochen Markard: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), Switzerland

No 20170612, Working Papers on Innovation Studies from Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo

Abstract: It is a classic theme in the transitions literature that newcomers supporting a novel technology struggle for dominance against incumbent actors and ‘their’ established technologies. Our study challenges this picture in several aspects with the intention to improve conceptual frameworks in transition studies. We present a case study on high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology - a mature technology for electricity transmission that has remained in a niche for decades but recently gained new momentum in the course of the energy transition. This case highlights i) incumbent actors as key drivers for innovation, ii) coupled dynamics via interaction of multiple technologies, also across industry boundaries, as a central process in transition dynamics, and iii) the increasingly pervasive nature of the energy transition. We interpret our observations from the perspective of two established frameworks, technological innovation systems and the multi-level perspective, and discuss implications for conceptual refinement.

Pages: 32 pages
Date: 2017-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cse, nep-ene, nep-ino, nep-ppm and nep-tid
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2)

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