China’s role in the next phase of the energy transition: Contributions to global niche formation in the Concentrated Solar Power sector

Jorrit Gosens, Christian Binz, Rasmus Lema

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    The role that emerging economies, and China in particular, play in the global energy transition appears to be transforming. Transition literature to date characterizes the formation of cleantech sectors in emerging economies as being heavily dependent on foreign inputs of knowledge and other key resources. This article argues that in the, currently unfolding, next phase of the global energy transition, Chinese actors may play a more central role in global niche development for high-tech industries, including in constructing innovative and effective socio-technical configurations. This argument is illustrated with a case study of the Chinese Concentrated Solar Power industry, which is found to have developed largely independently of foreign resources. The case is used to highlight a number of specificities of the Chinese environment that set it apart from niche formation environments in OECD countries, and may allow China to open up technological trajectories unlikely to develop in those OECD countries
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)61-75
    JournalEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

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