Scenarios limiting global warming to 1.5°C describe major transformations in energy supply and everrising energy demand. Here we provide a contrasting perspective by developing a narrative of future change based on observable trends that results in low energy demand. We describe and quantify changes in activity levels and energy intensity in the Global North and South for all major energy services. We project that global final energy demand by 2050 reduces to 245 EJ, around 40% lower than today despite rising population, income and activity. Using an integrated assessment modelling framework, we show how changes in the quantity and type of energy services drive structural change in intermediate and upstream supply sectors (energy and land use). Down-sizing the global energy system dramatically improves the feasibility of low-carbon supply-side transformation. Our scenario meets the 1.5°C climate target as well as many Sustainable Development Goals, without relying on negative emission technologies. * Contingency reserve of 8 EJ is allocated equally to Global North and South respectively. Bunker fuels are reported at the global level only, consistent with current energy balances and emission accounting frameworks. Activity level units vary per end-use service and upstream sector: a billion m 2 of floor space; b trillion passengerkilometres; c billion tonnes of materials; d trillion tonne-kilometres.
Meeting international climate targets requires accelerated low-carbon transformation. This means rapid technology diffusion which avoids carbon lock-in and has social legitimacy. More 'granular' energy technologies perform well on all three criteria. Granular technologies are small in size, low in cost, many in number, and distributed in application. Using a wide range of new data and analyses, we show that granularity is associated with faster diffusion, lower investment risk, faster learning, shorter lifetimes, lower complexity, larger efficiency potentials, more equitable access, more job creation, and higher returns on innovation investment. Although broadly robust to variations in context, these advantages are contingent on access to infrastructure, substitutability, and standardisation. Policy support for portfolios of granular energy technologies can help deliver rapid emission reductions in line with global climate change and sustainable development goals.
Innovation processes during the early period of a technology's development establish the conditions for widespread commercialization. For comparative analysis of innovation processes across technologies, a common operational definition of the formative phase is needed. This paper develops a set of indicators to measure the start and end points of formative phases with reference to key innovation processes including experimentation and market formation. The indicators are then applied to measure the formative phase durations of sixteen energy technologies covering a range of historical periods and applications. Formative phases are found to last 22 years on average. Determinants of formative phase duration are explored. Duration does not appear to be explained by unit scale, up-scaling, nor initial cost. However, technologies that are ready substitutes for incumbents have shorter formative phases, ceteris paribus. Policy implications include the potentials and risks of accelerating formative phases to push low carbon technologies into the market.
Sustainable entrepreneurship is raising and already providing a response to environmental, social and economic issues. However, it is still at disadvantage when seeks funding from traditional providers of capital. Crowdfunding has opened a new possibility for closing such funding gap. This study investigates the role of crowdfunding as a creative source of capital for ventures with sustainable orientation. The analysis seeks to understand to what extent project characteristics influence the ability to raise funds on the world leading rewardcrowdfunding platform, and, importantly, to explain their survival post-campaign. Results show that the perceived sustainable mission positively influences the outcome of the campaign. An average survival rate over 70% after one year of operations suggests the creation of healthy sustainability ventures through crowdfunding. Furthermore, a higher percentage of female cofounders improves the chances of success during and after the crowdfunding campaign. The paper discusses implications for the success of crowdfunding campaigns and their development post-campaign in sustainable entrepreneurship.
This article analyzes the process of construction of a new innovation system based on wind energy in a "follower" context. The technological innovation systems framework is used to analyze the process of technology diffusion as well as the emergence of a new wind sector in Portugal, where this renewable energy technology showed a spectacular development in the past decade. This framework highlights the main processes or functions that occur in the diffusion of a new technology. The evidence obtained demonstrates that the fulfillment of these functions, which were mostly studied in the context of pioneer countries, is still pertinent to explain the formation of a wind energy system in this follower country. Yet the type of resources and the nature of the activities needed to adopt the technology in the latter often differ. This case provides new insights into the importance of functions that enhance the follower's capacity to assimilate the new technology (e.g. local knowledge development, experimentation), thus creating the conditions for a fast move as soon as innovations become sufficiently mature in the core.
The paper investigates the construction of strategies aiming to up-scale low-carbon innovations from pilot to full commercial scale. This requires a systemic understanding of the evolution of the technology along with the organizations and infrastructures supporting its development. Technological innovation systems concepts operationalize system building processes, including the establishment of constituent elements and the performance of key innovation activities. The study surveys the national roadmaps published between 2009 and 2014 for offshore wind energy in deepwaters (more than 50 meters deep) which inform on how actors expect the system to grow, including the innovation activities crucial to achieve it. The roadmaps point to the role of guidance and legitimacy as triggers of changes in other innovation processes (knowledge creation, experimentation and so on) needed for takeoff. The analysis reveals that the growth plans conveyed in the roadmaps are overly optimistic when compared with the time taken to develop offshore wind energy in fixed structures for shallow waters. Several countries have adopted supporting policies following the publication of the roadmaps, but weaknesses in crucial innovation processes (e.g. specialized skills) and external factors (e.g. crisis, regulatory approval) resulted in a delay of the first large investments. Policy should be based on realistic expectations and adequate to the phase of innovation, such as the promotion of technology-specific institutions (standards, codes, regulations and so on) in technology up-scaling. New directions for research are also provided.
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