The role of lock-in mechanisms in transition processes: the case of energy for road transport
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Original versionEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 2015 10.1016/j.eist.2015.07.005
This paper revisits the theoretical concepts of lock-in mechanisms to analyse transitionprocesses in energy production and road transportation in the Nordic countries, focussingon three technology platforms: advanced biofuels, e-mobility and hydrogen and fuel cellelectrical vehicles. The paper is based on a comparative analysis of case studies.The main lock-in mechanisms analysed are learning effects, economies of scale,economies of scope, network externalities, informational increasing returns, technologi-cal interrelatedness, collective action, institutional learning effects and the differentiationof power.We show that very different path dependencies have been reinforced by the lock-inmechanisms. Hence, the characteristics of existing regimes set the preconditions for thedevelopment of new transition pathways. The incumbent socio-technical regime is not justfossil-based, but may also include mature niches specialised in the exploitation of renew-able sources. This implies a need to distinguish between lock-in mechanisms favouringthe old fossil-based regime, well-established (mature) renewable energy niches, or newpathways.