Multi-actor perspective, socio-technical barriers, and microgrid development in China

Minsi Liu, Kevin Lo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The microgrid is a new concept in China and may potentially play an important role in enhancing the resilience and sustainability of electricity generation and distribution. However, the development of microgrids faces many challenges. This study examines the barriers to microgrid development using a case study of a pilot zone in Qingdao. Drawing on the theories of multi-level perspective and multi-actor perspective, we presented new empirical evidence on how the pilot microgrid projects were rendered difficult by the resistance from the existing industrial regime and the challenging economic and socio-political environments. The monopoly of state-owned grid operators in electricity transmission and distribution is difficult to break at a local level. The findings deepen our understanding of the challenges encountered by innovators in China's microgrid development and hold implications for policymakers in making more targeted policy mixes to support energy transition activities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107158
Number of pages9
JournalElectricity Journal
Issue number7
Early online date14 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • Microgrid
  • Multi-actor perspective
  • Multi-level perspective
  • Socio-technical barriers


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