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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: December 2013

5 - Historical Diffusion and Growth of Energy Technologies

from Part II - Patterns and Linkages in the Energy Technology Innovation System

Further Reading

This case study extends a body of research begun in Wilson (2009) and more recently applied to learning and formative phases historically (Wilson, 2012), and to the evaluation of future scenarios of technological diffusion (Wilson et al., 2012). For a more general overview of the dynamics of technological change and diffusion in the energy system, see Grubler and colleagues (1999).


Åstrand, K. & Neij, L., 2006. An Assessment of Governmental Wind Power Programmes in Sweden – Using a System Approach. Energy Policy, 34: 277–96.
Dahlman, C. J., Ross-Larson, B., & Westphal, L. E., 1987. Managing Technological Development: Lessons from the Newly Industrializing Countries. World Development, 15(6): 759–75.
Danish Energy Agency, 2008. Wind Turbine Master Data Register. Copenhagen, DK:Danish Energy Agency.
Gallagher, K. S., 2006. Limits to Leapfrogging in Energy Technologies? Evidence from the Chinese Automobile Industry. Energy Policy, 34(4): 383–94.
Gardiner, J. P., 1983. Robust and Lean Designs with State-of-the-Art Automotive and Aircraft Examples. In Freeman, C. (ed.) Design, Innovation & Long Cycles in Economic Development. London, UK: Design Research Publications, 215–48.
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Grubler, A., 1990. The Rise and Fall of Infrastructures, Dynamics of Evolution and Technological Change in Transport. Heidelberg, Germany: Physica-Verlag.
Grübler, A., 1995. Industrialisation as an Historical Phenomenon. Laxenburg, Austria: IIASA.
Grübler, A., 1998. Technology and Global Change. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Grübler, A., 2010. The Costs of the French Nuclear Scale-Up: A Case of Negative Learning by Doing. Energy Policy, 38(9): 5174–88.
Grubler, A., Nakicenovic, N., & Victor, D. G., 1999. Dynamics of Energy Technologies and Global Change. Energy Policy, 27(5): 247–80.
GWEC, 2008. Global Wind Energy Outlook. Brussels, Belgium: Global Wind Energy Council.
Heymann, M., 1998. Signs of Hubris – The Shaping of Wind Technology Styles in Germany, Denmark and the United States 1940–1990. Technology and Culture, 39(4): 641–70.
IEA, 2008. Energy Technology Perspectives 2008 – Scenarios and Strategies to 2050. Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development.
Jackson, P. (ed.) 1998. Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft:1998–99. Surrey: Janes Information Group.
Jacobsson, S. & Bergek, A., 2004. Transforming the Energy Sector: The Evolution of Technological Systems in Renewable Energy Technology. Industrial and Corporate Change, 13(5): 815–49.
Jacobsson, S. & Lauber, V., 2006. The Politics and Policy of Energy System Transformation – Explaining the German Diffusion of Renewable Energy Technology. Energy Policy, 34(3): 256–76.
Kemp, R., Schot, J., & Hoogma, R., 1998. Regime Shifts to Sustainability through Processes of Niche Formation: The Approach of Strategic Niche Management. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 10(2): 175–98.
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Luiten, E. E. M. & Blok, K., 2003. Stimulating R&D of Industrial Energy-Efficient Technology; the Effect of Government Intervention on the Development of Strip Casting Technology. Energy Policy, 31(13): 1339–56.
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Wilson, C., 2009. Meta-Analysis of Unit and Industry Level Scaling Dynamics in Energy Technologies and Climate Change Mitigation Scenarios. Laxenburg, Austria:International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).
Wilson, C., 2012. Up-Scaling, Formative Phases, and Learning in the Historical Diffusion of Energy Technologies. Energy Policy, 50: 81–94.
Wilson, C. & Grubler, A., 2011. Lessons from the History of Technological Change for Clean Energy Scenarios and Policies. Natural Resources Forum, 35: 165–84.
Wilson, C., Grubler, A., Bauer, N., Krey, V., & Riahi, K., 2012. Future Capacity Growth of Energy Technologies: Are Scenarios Consistent with Historical Evidence?Climatic Change, 118(2): 381–95.