Shaping the Directionality of Sustainability Transitions: The Diverging Development Patterns of Solar PV in Two Chinese Provinces

44 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2020 Last revised: 21 Sep 2020

See all articles by Kejia Yang

Kejia Yang

University of Sussex - Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU)

Johan Schot

University of Sussex - Science and Technology Policy Research Unit (SPRU)

Bernhard Truffer

Utrecht University

Date Written: August 5, 2020

Abstract

A limited set of studies have addressed how actors shape the directionality of sustainability transitions. Building on recent institutional work literature, this article explores how specific institutional activities developed by both niche and regime actors across spatial levels shape the directions of transition. We examine two cases with contrasting directionalities: solar PV in the provinces of Inner Mongolia and Jiangsu, both located in China. The former developed PV as part of the large-scale centralised power system and the latter focused on PV development as a core element of an alternative distributed form of power generation. We investigate provincial differences as well as the state-provincial dynamics. The article therefore develops a multi-scalar understanding of institutional work. Our research findings suggest three aspects have been key for understanding the divergent patterns: the specific portfolios of enacted institutional work, the type of interactions between niche and regime actors and the selective leveraging of institutional conditions at national by provincial actors. Based on these findings we formulate four propositions and propose a novel conceptual framework to investigate how actors shape the directionality of sustainability transition.

Keywords: Actors, Institutional work, Directionality, Sustainability transition, Solar PV development

Suggested Citation

Yang, Kejia and Schot, Johan and Truffer, Bernhard, Shaping the Directionality of Sustainability Transitions: The Diverging Development Patterns of Solar PV in Two Chinese Provinces (August 5, 2020). SWPS 2020-14, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3667900 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3667900

Kejia Yang (Contact Author)

University of Sussex - Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) ( email )

Brighton, BN1 9SL
United Kingdom

Johan Schot

University of Sussex - Science and Technology Policy Research Unit (SPRU) ( email )

Mantell Building
Falmer
Brighton BN1 9RH UK, Sussex
United Kingdom

Bernhard Truffer

Utrecht University

Vredenburg 138
Utrecht, 3511 BG
Netherlands

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