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Enabling socio-technical transitions – electric vehicles and high voltage electricity grids as focal points of low emission futures
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Environmental Strategies Research (fms).
2017 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Today humankind is facing numerous sustainability challenges that require us to question CO2 intensive practices like those present in the transport and energy sector. To meet those challenges, many countries have adopted ambitious climate targets. Achieving such targets requires an understanding of the wider socio-technical context of transitions. The aim of this licentiate thesis is therefore to analyse such socio-technical transitions towards low-emission futures enabled by the electrification of passenger cars and high voltage grid development.

A combination of different transitions theories (for ex. Multi-level perspective and Technological innovation systems) and institutional theory has been used. To reach the aim paper I analyses the climate impacts of electric vehicles (EVs) and policy measures to achieve a breakthrough scenario for EVs. The results show that a mixture of short and long term policies are needed that take into account the technology development stage and behavioural aspects of EV adopters. Paper II addresses the need to include the high voltage transmission grid and its planning procedures as a central part of debates on transitions. Therefore the opportunities, challenges and reasons for conflict in the established regime are studied. The results show that in order to achieve a sustainable grid development regime, it is necessary to spend time on achieving legitimacy and social sustainability. The third paper uses semi-structured expert interviews and focuses on innovation dynamics for EV adoption. By focusing on dynamics instead of single policy measures, it is possible to grasp interactions within a niche, but also in between a niche, regime and landscape. The results show that strong initial technology legitimacy was needed to start substantial innovation dynamics. This could be further strengthened with a strong and broad coalition of actors. Both those factors led, if present, to an improved variety and match of policy instruments.

As such this thesis has shown that transitions are not just about technology or policy instruments as such but about the dynamics and processes needed to enable them. This can be relevant in other transitions that otherwise may underestimate the importance of these components.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2017. , 30 p.
Keyword [en]
Socio-technical system, innovation system, transition, MLP, TIS, low emission future, electric vehicles, high voltage transmission grid, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, United Kingdom
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary History of Technology Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies) Energy Systems Transport Systems and Logistics Infrastructure Engineering Economic History
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-206973ISBN: 978-91-7729-438-2 OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-206973DiVA: diva2:1094759
Presentation
2017-06-14, L52, Drottning Kristinas väg 30, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Norstrat
Funder
Nordic Council of Ministers
Note

QC 20170512

Available from: 2017-05-12 Created: 2017-05-11 Last updated: 2017-05-15Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Electrification of vehicles – policy drivers and impacts in two scenarios.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Electrification of vehicles – policy drivers and impacts in two scenarios.
2013 (English)In: Grid Integration of Electric Vehicles in Open Electricity Markets / [ed] Qiuwei Wu, John Wiley & Sons, 2013Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This chapter examines current policy drivers of battery electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid EVs, the current and anticipated impacts on carbon emissions, as well as what potential role policy can play in enhancing the innovation system and market development around such vehicles in the future. We start with a policy review of key targets in the Nordic countries and the EU, up to 2030, and discuss to what extent they are consistent with industry and expert estimates of how the systems can grow. On the basis of this, the second part elaborates two simple scenarios of EV development in the EU: one breakthrough expansion scenario and one incremental expansion scenario. Building on that is an analysis of the climate impacts of the two scenarios, given different assumptions relating to, for example, electricity production as well as EV penetration in the fleet. The third part examines what policy drivers might be needed to enable the breakthrough scenario, using a technological innovation systems perspective to describe the needed processes, drivers and developments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2013
Keyword
technological innovation systems (TIS), policy, innovation, electric vehicles (EVs), scenarios, environmental impact, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland
National Category
Political Science Environmental Sciences Transport Systems and Logistics
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-185948 (URN)10.1002/9781118568040.ch1 (DOI)978-1-118-44607-2 (ISBN)
Projects
Norstrat
Funder
Nordic Council of Ministers
Note

QC 20160429

Available from: 2016-04-29 Created: 2016-04-29 Last updated: 2017-05-11Bibliographically approved
2. Towards a sustainable grid development regime?: A comparison of British, Norwegian, and Swedish grid development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards a sustainable grid development regime?: A comparison of British, Norwegian, and Swedish grid development
2015 (English)In: Energy Research and Social Science, ISSN 2214-6296, Vol. 9, 17QC 20151111-187 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Currently, huge investments are being made in the electricity infrastructure in Europe. However, one third of the European grid investments are delayed, even though the majority of the population in Europe is in favour of a greener energy mix. This paradoxical situation is connected to the fact that although interdependent, the production and transportation sides of renewable energy sources are treated as two distinct processes. The two types of infrastructure undergo separate processes for development consent and are the target of opposition from various citizen groups. In this article we compare the British, Norwegian, and Swedish grid development regimes in order to analyse their opportunities and challenges. The comparison demonstrates that the regimes differ on significant aspects, e.g. different historical trajectories, technological setups, arguments, and main drivers. The article highlights the importance of achieving sustainable energy systems by relying on a sensible strategy for grid development, and the importance of moving beyond the focus on a sustainable, "green-fuelled" grid.

National Category
Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-174713 (URN)10.1016/j.erss.2015.08.011 (DOI)2-s2.0-84945470727 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20151111

Available from: 2015-11-11 Created: 2015-10-07 Last updated: 2017-05-11Bibliographically approved
3. System innovation dynamics around electric vehicles. The cases of Norway, Denmark and Sweden.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>System innovation dynamics around electric vehicles. The cases of Norway, Denmark and Sweden.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper focuses on the comparison of electric car innovation patterns in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Doing so, it takes a closer look at what the most essential dynamics in the systems were over time and what enabled those dynamics. The main research aim is to contribute to a wider understanding of why Norway is so much ahead of Sweden and Denmark in electric car adoption. The purpose is also to adopt a perspective that goes beyond a mere focus on economic policy instruments. In order to do so different theory elements are combined in a framework. These elements stem from the transition theory literature field, especially the technological innovation system (TIS) and the multi-level perspective (MLP). This combination allows analysing the development behind a dynamic, not just when it comes to an innovation itself but also with regards to the established regime. The data is gathered through analysis of existing documents and data as well as a series of 27 expert interviews conducted in the three case countries. The findings suggest that there are important differences in transition patterns that can account for the electric vehicle (EV) diffusion situation we can find nowadays in the three Nordic countries. An important stepping stone was the need for a very strong legitimacy of the original EV vision that is also anchored in a coordinated, sector overarching coalition of actors that thinks strategically and long term. Moreover some general beneficial dynamics could be identified across the countries in question. In Norway these beneficial dynamics can be summarised as a systems motor, in Denmark as a failed entrepreneurial motor that shifted towards a constrained municipal motor and in Sweden as a loosely, coordinated and weaker version of a systems motor.

Keyword
Technological Innovation System (TIS), Multi-level perspective (MLP) electric vehicles (EV), innovation policy, industry policy, environmental policy, energy policy
National Category
History of Technology Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Economic History Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies) Energy Systems Transport Systems and Logistics Infrastructure Engineering
Research subject
History of Science, Technology and Environment; Transport Science; Industrial Economics and Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-206972 (URN)
Projects
Norstrat
Funder
Nordic Council of Ministers
Note

QC 20170511

Available from: 2017-05-11 Created: 2017-05-11 Last updated: 2017-05-11Bibliographically approved

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