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Energy and Climate Change

Scaling up sustainable energy innovations

Article | 30-08-2017

Upscaling is critically important to enable a wide-scale integration of renewable energy sources. This paper mobilises literature on the strategic management of experimental niches to explore the upscaling of smart grids in the Netherlands.

On the basis of existing literature, a typology of four different patterns of upscaling is proposed: growing, replication, accumulation, and transformation. The relevance of this typology to understanding upscaling of smart grids is explored in a comparative qualitative case study design. On this basis we argue that the building of broad and deep social networks is important for growing and replication; articulating and sharing expectations is important for replication; and broad and reflexive learning processes are critical to transformation and replication. The paper concludes by arguing that these findings can provide important guidelines for future energy innovation policies.

Current electricity grids do not fit the needs and challenges of the 21st century, such as the need to transition to renewable energy sources and the variability in power supply concomitant with such energy sources. In this context, smart electricity grids have been proposed as a solution. A large number of pilots and experiments have been set up, but a key challenge remains how to upscale them.

Author(s)Rolf Naber, Rob Raven, Matthijs Kouw, Ton Dassen
Publication date30-08-2017
PublicationEnergy Policy Volume 110, November 2017, Pages 342–354
RemarksThis article is available on the publisher’s website via restricted access.