Abstract for: Dynamics of Innovation and Diffusion in Large-Scale Complex Technical Systems: the Case of Wind Energy

Over the last several decades, governments across the globe have implemented and then removed policy incentives for wind energy. The stops and starts of policy supports have brought about cyclic growth and collapse of the local wind industry. However, policies across several nations since the 1980s have led to a relatively stable and growing global market for wind energy that has enabled significant innovation in the technology to the present day. This paper examines the interplay of technology innovation and diffusion dynamics where markets for the technology are local but innovation is global. The author develops a system dynamics model through the combined use of theory and data calibration for wind energy innovation (global) and diffusion (local). The model captures the effects of inconsistent policy for different nations and states while demonstrating that the global aggregation of market demand has enabled continuous technical innovation, which then feeds back to condition local conditions. The result of this turbulent process has enabled wind energy to become a significant component of the global electricity generation portfolio.