Resource mobilisation for energy system transformation

Detta är en avhandling från Chalmers University of Technology

Sammanfattning: A transition to a sustainable path of development will require that fossil fuels are replaced with renewable energy sources and involve, therefore, a large-scale transformation of the energy system. In the EU, offshore wind power and biorefineries have the potential to play an important role in this transformation. This thesis focuses on development and, particularly, diffusion of these technologies and the associated crucial mobilisation of resources. First, the formation of competences is analysed, with focus on the need for engineering competences in the offshore wind sector. Second, an analysis is made of an incumbent industry that is in control of strategic raw material, competences and technical systems and which, therefore, can hinder or drive the development of technology. The incumbent industry in question is the Swedish pulp and paper industry and the focus is on the adoption of biorefinery options. The analytical framework used is constructed by combining literature on innovations systems, transition management and strategic management. This combination contributes to a better understanding of the interactions between different system levels. The analysis of the human capital required to realize an expansion of offshore wind power shows that there is a need for both deep competences and new types of integrated competences. By 2020, the number of additional engineers needed in the wind power value chain may easily go beyond 10 000. The demand for competence has implications for the universities, which need to expand the number and types of educational programmes. This up-scaling of university programmes will require that the associated teaching staffs are enlarged. It may also require support for a European portfolio of specialized courses that are made available to students from different universities. The analysis of the pulp and paper industry describes how the industry has started to change its attitude towards development of biorefinery technologies due to pressure from several changes at a societal level. This far, the industry’s reaction to these changes has been modest and is characterized by incremental change and extended vertical integration. However, development along two new technological trajectories (including development of gasification and separation/refining technologies, respectively) can be identified. The firms’ different reactions to pressure can be explained by their different prerequisites regarding resources, skills, position and experience. These reactions can be seen as an initial phase of a regime fragmentation and could constitute a starting point for a transition.

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