Historical Trajectories and Corporate Competences in Wind Energy

82 Pages Posted: 6 May 2011  

Geoffrey Gareth Jones

Harvard University - General Management Unit

Loubna Bouamane

Harvard Business School

Date Written: May 4, 2011

Abstract

This working paper surveys the business history of the global wind energy turbine industry between the late nineteenth century and the present day. It examines the long-term prominence of firms headquartered in Denmark, the more fluctuating role of US-based firms, and the more recent growth of German, Spanish, Indian and Chinese firms. While natural resource endowment in wind has not been very significant in explaining the country of origin of leading firms, the existence of rural areas not supplied by grid electricity was an important motivation for early movers in both the US and Denmark. Public policy was the problem rather than the opportunity for wind entrepreneurs before 1980, but beginning with feed-in tariffs and other policy measures taken in California, policy mattered a great deal. However, Danish firms, building on inherited technological capabilities and benefiting from a small-scale and decentralized industrial structure, benefited more from Californian public policies. The more recent growth of German, Spanish and Chinese firms reflected both home country subsidies for wind energy and strong local content policies, whilst successful firms pursued successful strategies to acquire technologies and develop their own capabilities.

Suggested Citation

Jones, Geoffrey Gareth and Bouamane, Loubna, Historical Trajectories and Corporate Competences in Wind Energy (May 4, 2011). Harvard Business School Entrepreneurial Management Working Paper No. 11-112. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1831471 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1831471

Geoffrey Gareth Jones (Contact Author)

Harvard University - General Management Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States

Loubna Bouamane

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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