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Who invests in renewable electricity production?: Empirical evidence and suggestions for further research
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Project management, Innovations and Entrepreneurship . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. (NYEL)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1952-902X
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Project management, Innovations and Entrepreneurship . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. (NYEL)
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Project management, Innovations and Entrepreneurship . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. (NYEL)
2013 (English)In: Energy Policy, ISSN 0301-4215, Vol. 56, 568-581 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Transforming energy systems to fulfill the needs of a low-carbon economy requires large investments in renewable electricity production (RES-E). Recent literature underlines the need to take a closer look at the composition of the RES-E investor group in order to understand the motives and investment processes of different types of investors. However, existing energy policies generally consider RES-E investments made on a regional or national level, and target investors who evaluate their RES-E investments according to least-cost high-profit criteria. We present empirical evidence to show that RES-E investments are made by a heterogeneous group of investors, that a variety of investors exist and that their formation varies among the different types of renewable sources. This has direct implications for our understanding of the investment process in RES-E and for the study of motives and driving forces of RES-E investors. We introduce a multi-dimensional framework for analyzing differences between categories of investors, which not only considers to the standard economic dimension which is predominant in the contemporary energy literature, but also considers the entrepreneurship, innovation-adoption and institutional dimensions. The framework emphasizes the influence of four main investor-related factors on the investment process which should be studied in future research: motives, background, resources and personal characteristics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2013. Vol. 56, 568-581 p.
Keyword [en]
Energy policy, Renewable electricity production, Tradable Green Certificate, Investor types, Investments, RES-E
National Category
Economics and Business
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-89587DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.01.038ISI: 000317158400054OAI: diva2:608373
NYEL - Nya investerare i förnybar elproduktion
Swedish Energy Agency


► The RES-E investor group is heterogeneous. ► Investors with no traditional background within electricity production make the majority of RES-E investments in Sweden. ► Different types of RES-E investors invest in different renewables. ► A standard economic perspective is not sufficient to understand emerging RES-E investors. ► Motives, background, resources and personal characteristics of RES-E investors matter.

Available from: 2013-02-27 Created: 2013-02-27 Last updated: 2016-09-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Entering renewable electricity production: An actor perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Entering renewable electricity production: An actor perspective
2014 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Although energy transition is considered one of the main challenges of our time, little attention has traditionally been paid to the actors participating in this transition, such as the producers of renewable electricity. Previous energy policy literature and policy- makers have assumed that these producers are incumbent actors of the current energy system, that is to say, large utilities producing both renewable and fossil-fueled electricity. In reality, new types of producers are entering the renewable electricity production market, without much (if any) previous experience in that industry.

This Licentiate thesis studies the new entrants of renewable electricity production in order to identify their motives, their responses to policies, and their ways of implementing their projects. This is conducted through the analysis of 37 cases of new entrants in Sweden. A theoretical background, a complete description of the methods, and an overall presentation of the findings are presented in the first part of the thesis, and in the second part of the thesis, four scientific papers studying the new entrants of renewable electricity production from complementary theoretical approaches are presented.

Results show that the new entrant group is heterogeneous in several ways. They have different motives, they are affected by different drivers and pressures, and they are faced with different challenges during their entry processes. Despite that, their share of investments represents the majority of those currently being made in renewable electricity production in Sweden. Based on these results, policy implications are drawn and, in particular, the need for policy-makers and energy policy literature to acknowledge the particularities of the new entrants is highlighted.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. 70 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1638
Renewable electricity production, new entrants, energy transition, energy policy, innovation, entrepreneurship, institutional theory, innovation-­adoption, implementation
National Category
Engineering and Technology Economics and Business
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-103319 (URN)10.3384/lic.diva-103319 (DOI)LiU-­‐TEK-­‐LIC 2013:172 (Local ID)978-­91-­7519-­435-­6 (print) (ISBN)LiU-­‐TEK-­‐LIC 2013:172 (Archive number)LiU-­‐TEK-­‐LIC 2013:172 (OAI)
2014-01-17, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2014-01-16 Created: 2014-01-16 Last updated: 2016-09-06Bibliographically approved
2. Inducing large-scale diffusion of innovation: An integrated actor- and system-level approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Inducing large-scale diffusion of innovation: An integrated actor- and system-level approach
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In order for the innovation process to be successful, not only do innovations need to be developed and reached the market, but, once they are available for users, they have to spread on a large scale. In the innovation literature, a complete explanation is lacking of why some innovations reach a phase of large-scale diffusion faster than others, including both actor- and system-level components. For instance, what drives and hinders adopters to decide to adopt the innovation on the actor and system levels, and how adopters who participate in the largescale diffusion handle the adoption process and the implementation of the innovation, are questions still unanswered. As a consequence, it remains unclear how the large-scale diffusion process can be facilitated and speeded up.

This thesis addresses these issues by studying the case of renewable electricity (RE) innovations. After decades of technology development and improvements, RE innovations are now mature enough to be bought off-the-shelf by individuals and organizations. Yet, the pace of their large-scale diffusion is still too slow for countries to reach their RE generation targets and to limit global warming.

Through qualitative and quantitative methods including 59 semi-structured interviews with adopters, project developers and experts in Sweden, France and Germany as well as a survey sent to the whole population of RE adopters in Sweden, an adopter perspective is taken in order to explore the adoption dynamics shaping large-scale diffusion of innovation. More specifically, the thesis identifies the drivers and challenges of adoption during large-scale diffusion and their impact on adoption decisions and strategies. The outcome of this work is presented in a compiling synthesis and six appended papers.

Findings show that adopters are heterogeneous with regard to their characteristics, as well as to the drivers, challenges and strategies that affect their adoption processes. Depending on their perceptions, some adopters are more influenced by drivers and challenges than others and, as a consequence, adopters base their adoption decisions on different motives and follow different strategies to implement the innovation.

Moreover, the results suggest that the dynamics that occur during the large-scale diffusion process does not only come from the actor level and the level of the system where the largescale diffusion takes place, but also from parallel systems, which are related to adopters and their contexts, including both the social networks and the industries they primarily belong. This makes adopters the central drivers of the innovation diffusion process and this distinguishes the dynamics of large-scale diffusion from the dynamics of innovation development and early diffusion, in which the innovation is the central component.

Based on the findings about the adoption dynamics shaping large-scale diffusion, the thesis raises the need to consider large-scale diffusion as part of a new system, different from the innovation system and that acknowledges the specificities of this process. A tentative model accounting for the central role of adopters and for the interactions between adopters, the diffusion system and parallel systems is introduced.

Finally, the implications of these findings for policy makers and managers are put forward. In particular, there is a need for policies acknowledging adopters’ heterogeneity as well as the new challenges of large-scale diffusion. Strategies developed by adopters can be a source of inspiration for policy-makers, who can for instance promote the use of intermediaries, of adopters’ task environment and networks, as well as the formation of coalitions among adopters.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2016. 51 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1777
Innovation, large-scale diffusion, adopters, actor, system, drivers, challenges, motives, strategies, policies, renewable electricity, technology, intermediaries
National Category
Business Administration Energy Engineering Energy Systems Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-131029 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-131029 (DOI)9789176857328 (Print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-10-07, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2016-09-06 Created: 2016-09-06 Last updated: 2016-09-06Bibliographically approved

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