Can the oil industry push forward the development of cleantech industries?

Photo: Elsevier


The development and deployment of clean technologies must be accelerated to avoid a more than 2-degree warmer world. Redeployment of the vast resources concentrated in established sectors is one possible way to advance cleantech industries. However, prior research on sustainability transitions tends to emphasize competition and conflict between established sectors and cleantech industries.

There is thus a need for exploring in more depth how established sectors may positively contribute to cleantech industries. Based on the notion of structural overlaps, we propose an extended version of the technological innovation systems framework to study how established sectors influence cleantech industries, and present new conceptual definitions and indicators. We apply the framework to a case study of the relationship between the oil and gas sector and the offshore wind power industry in Norway.

Our empirical results show that the oil and gas sector has several positive influences on offshore wind power enabled by technological overlaps and diversifying firms. However, misaligned informal institutions weaken such influences, manifested as e.g. conflicting priorities and wavering commitment of diversified oil and gas firms to the new industry. We conclude by discussing the usefulness of the proposed framework and the relevance of our findings for policy and further research.


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Published Jan. 10, 2018 8:55 AM - Last modified Jan. 10, 2018 9:54 AM