Governing the Transition of Socio-technical Systems: A Case Study of the Development of Smart Grids in Korea

Daphne Ngar-yin Mah*, Johannes Marinus van der Vleuten, Jasper Chi man Ip, Peter Hills

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter examines the motivations, processes, and outcomes of the development of smart grids in South Korea through the perspectives of governance and innovation systems. Drawing on desktop research and semi-structured interviews, this chapter has two major findings. First, the development of smart grids in Korea has been shaped by various factors including macroeconomic policy, the role of the government, and experimentation. The complex interactions between these factors at the landscape, regime, and niche levels have impacted on the development of smart grids. Second, while Korea’s government-led approach has its strengths in driving change, it has also exposed weaknesses in the country’s ability to mobilise the private sector and consumer participation. Major obstacles including partial electricity market reform and public distrust exist. A systemic perspective is needed for policy in order to accommodate the changes required for smart grid development. Regulatory reforms, particularly price-setting mechanisms, and consumer engagement are priority areas for policy change.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSmart Grid Applications and Developments
EditorsDaphne Mah, Peter Hills, Victor O.K. Li, Richard Balme
PublisherSpringer London
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781447162810
ISBN (Print)9781447162803, 9781447170723
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2014

Publication series

NameGreen Energy and Technology
ISSN (Print)1865-3529
ISSN (Electronic)1865-3537

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

User-Defined Keywords

  • Europe
  • Marketing
  • Meso
  • Transportation
  • Upscaling


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