Mr Angus Vantoch-Wood, University of Exeter
The Technology Innovation System model outlined by Bergek et al and network analysis are applied to the emerging wave energy sector to assess overall levels of interactivity occurring between actors and subgroups within the sector (Bergek et al., 2008). The primary focus of research is the UK, due to highly national-centric level of grid, resource, research base, institutional framework and stakeholder focus, though some international facets of development are discussed
Findings show several strong emerging trends revealing a move towards both technological as well as geographical ‘lock-in’ and self-reinforcement as the sector begins to emerge into a pre-commercial phase of early deployment. Overarching Governmental ambition to draw out commercially viable technologies is leading to both technology winners being picked and a ‘Mathew Effect’ on regulatory and institutional formation within the sector. Although there is clearly a necessity for long term sectoral convergence and refinement, the support mechanisms being adopted to reach this outcome have left many stakeholders disillusioned with the heuristic processes in place and the lack of cohesion (both chronologically and between technology development steps) within the overall funding and support landscape.
This paper discusses some of these issues in greater detail as well as possible mitigation and improvement options that could be adopted to assist in re-legitimising the sector and ensure that adverse technology lock-in effects are minimised. These include: the creation of an independent representative body for wave (and tidal) device developers to ensure equitable representation for less mature developers; cohesive technology funding streams between public technology innovation support bodies, (with audited development milestones), an assisted mechanism to increase ‘private’ funding options (such as the GIB) and a clearer and more transparent selection process for larger scale project approvals.
BERGEK, A., et al. (2008) Analysing the functional dynamics of technological innovation systems: A scheme of analysis. Research Policy, 37, 407-429.Developments-within-the-UK-Wave-Energy-Sector.pdf 599.99 KBVantoch-Wood_A_Developments_within_the_UK_Wave_Energy_Sector2.pdf 215.97 KB