Niche Acceleration Driven by Expectation Dynamics Among Niche and Regime Actors: China’s Wind and Solar Power Development
35 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2020
Date Written: March 2020
This paper addresses the question how does the alignment of expectations between niche and regime actors unfold during niche development process, and how it shapes the niche development process? In this paper we offer a theoretical framework with three alignment patterns: strong, medium-strong and weak alignment, based on niche and regime actors’ expectation structures. The research aims to establish whether the alignment patterns match three distinct stages of niche development: slow niche development; moderate niche development and substantial niche acceleration. We propose a 16% threshold in terms of adoption for niche acceleration. We apply the conceptual framework to two long-term cases, of wind and solar power development in China between 2000 and 2017. These present two independent cases with different stages of niche development during the studied period, but in the end both show niche acceleration. Our two cases suggest that although alignment patterns between both cases differ, they match niche development phases. Strong alignment does go hand in hand with niche acceleration. Overall, this paper contributes to both a conceptual and methodological understanding of how the alignment patterns between niche and regime actors’ expectations contribute to niche acceleration.
Keywords: Niche acceleration; Expectations; China; Wind power; Solar power
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