The role of the state in sustainable energy transitions: A case study of large smart grid demonstration projects in Japan

Daphne Ngar-yin MAH*, Yun Ying Wu, Jasper Chi man Ip, Peter Ronald Hills

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Smart grids represent one of the most significant evolutionary changes in energy management systems as they enable decentralised energy systems, the use of large-scale renewable energy as well as major improvements in demand-side-management. Japan is one of the pioneers in smart grid deployment. The Japanese model is characterised by a government-led, community-oriented, and business-driven approach with the launch of four large-scale smart-community demonstration projects. Our case study of large smart grid demonstration projects in Japan found that the Japanese government has demonstrated its high governing capacity in terms of leadership, recombinative capacity, institutional capacity, enabling capacity, and inducement capacity. However, the major limitations of the government in introducing some critical regulatory changes have constrained the smart grid deployment from advancing to a higher-order form of smart grid developments. This paper calls for more attention to be given to the importance of regulatory changes that are essential to overcome the technological lock-in, and the complementary roles of non-state actors such as the business sector and consumers to strengthen the governing capacity of the state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)726-737
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy Policy
Volume63
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

User-Defined Keywords

  • Japan
  • Smart grids
  • State

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