Commercializing new renewable energy solutions: Understanding the formative phase of an emerging technological innovation system - : A case study of the Norwegian Research Centre for Offshore Wind Technology
The object of this thesis is to increase the understanding of the formative phase of an emerging technological innovation system studying the Norwegian Research Centre for Offshore Wind Technology (Nowitech). Offshore wind power (OWP) represents a great potential in Norway. A successful establishment of OWP farms is important for the environment, society and to secure future energy supply.
I argue that the energy system is constrained by a national “systemic lock-in”. Norway has traditionally had a recourse based economy. Idiosyncratic patterns refer to traditional industries within a country, like the Norwegian fishing and shipping industries which later formed a basis for the petroleum industry. Hence, this in turn can represent a foundation and competitive advantage within an OWP system.
The theoretical framework is based on the technological innovation system approach (Bergek et al., 2008). It focuses on the co-evolution of technological innovation, markets and policies that are recognized as key premises for technological innovation systems to emerge and evolve. The framework emphasizes the systemic aspects related to OWP in Norway, whereas the technology is “black-boxed”.
The Norwegian energy system is characterized as diverse, but dominated by the petroleum and hydropower industries. Nowitech is defined as a system builder and facilitate knowledge creation and transfer within the system. The OWP system mirrors a strong national offshore industry and is categorized as diverse. Because of this policies and market opportunities are limited in Norway. This drives firms to an “exit” strategy, meaning that they enter other countries with more established markets. NRE policies have characteristics similar to the ideal type of “innovation policy” that favor a neo-classical approach. Hence, the Norwegian OWP system is lagging behind the European race towards a more sustainable economy.
Keywords: Commercialization of new renewable energy; Innovation; Innovation systems; Lock-in; National Innovation System; Offshore wind-power; Path dependency; R&D; Technological innovation system.