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An Investigation into the Determinants of Diffusion of Renewable Energy

Delaportas, K; (2016) An Investigation into the Determinants of Diffusion of Renewable Energy. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The aim of this work is to examine the mechanisms and the factors that influence the diffusion of renewable energy technologies (RETs), in particular Solar PV and Wind power. To understand them, three theoretical approaches are used together: the neoclassical approach to diffusion, Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) framework, and the Technology Innovation System (TIS) approach. A key problem with the first two approaches is that they take a static view of this dynamic process, while the latter fails to do so adequately. Thus, we recognised that in the literature there is a gap in the understanding of how the diffusion determinants vary across time. To deal with this, we use life-cycle models in conjunction with these theories, so that we can identify theoretically meaningful points in time and try to examine how the diffusion determinants vary as the technology evolves. In more details, we separate the time of diffusion of a technology into four distinct periods, and for each try to identify what factors make the potential users more likely to adopt the RET. Driven by the complexity and the multifaceted nature of diffusion, we use a variety of methodological approaches to identify the mechanisms and factors of diffusion. These include quantitative techniques (survival models, and panel data econometrics), qualitative techniques (case studies), and a third methodology designed to bridge the qualitative-quantitative divide, known as Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). We !nd evidence supporting the varying nature of the diffusion determinants, independently of which theory we examine. In line with the mainstream literature on the diffusion of RETs, a key factor which was found signi!cant across all time periods was government intervention; however, its importance tended to decrease as the technology matures. Additionally, our research illustrated that diffusion cannot be solely explained by looking at individual factors but rather it is better understood as the outcome of an evolving system, which includes a wide variety of institutions, which vary across country but also according to the country’s distance to the technological frontier.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: An Investigation into the Determinants of Diffusion of Renewable Energy
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1476694
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