Conceptualizing niche-regime dynamics of energy transitions from a political economic perspective: Insights from community-led urban solar in seoul

Daphne Ngar-yin MAH, Darren Man wai Cheung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The complex dynamics between technological niches and regime "lock-in" are critical in determining the pace and outcomes of energy transitions. The socio-technical transitions literature has received growing scholarly attention, but it lacks consideration of the broader political and economic contexts. This paper aims to advance understanding of socio-technical transitions by conceptualizing niche-regime dynamics from a political economic perspective, with reference to a case study of solar in Seoul. Based on in-depth face-to-face interviews with 18 key stakeholders, we have three findings. Firstly, the politico-economic contexts have created an embedded environment in which five factors have a clear influence on niche-regime dynamics. Secondly, the politico-economic contexts created conducive conditions for niche developments on the one hand, but, on the other hand, have created inhibitive conditions that have cancelled out the positive forces and reinforced "lock-in". Thirdly, the processes occur at multi-scalar levels: Community solar niches in Seoul are conditioned by the broader politico-economic contexts at city and national levels. We conclude that sufficient policy attention should be given to the political economy of a national energy system in order to create conducive conditions for community-led niches to realize the full potential that they could offer in energy transitions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4818
JournalSustainability
Volume12
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

User-Defined Keywords

  • Community-led urban solar
  • Lock-in
  • Niche-regime dynamics
  • Political economic perspective
  • Socio-technical energy transitions
  • South Korea

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