Evolutionary Economics and Environmental Policy
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Evolutionary Economics and Environmental Policy

Survival of the Greenest

Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh, Albert Faber, Annemarth M. Idenburg and Frans H. Oosterhuis

This study offers a unique evolutionary economics perspective on energy and innovation policies in the wider context of the transition to sustainable development.
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Chapter 5: Case Studies

Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh, Albert Faber, Annemarth M. Idenburg and Frans H. Oosterhuis


INTRODUCTION This chapter examines, on the basis of three different energy technologies, the role that the evolutionary economic aspects discussed in the previous chapters play in the practical development of a sustainable energy supply. The ultimate issue is whether the public policy as applied with regard to these technologies has been adequate from the viewpoint of evolutionary economics and, if not, what amendments to policy would be justified based on the insights of evolutionary economics. The three energy technologies examined are fuel cells (Section 5.2), nuclear fusion (Section 5.3) and photovoltaic energy (Section 5.4). The following criteria were applied in selecting these cases: ● ● ● The cases should deal with potential elements of an energy supply system that must be based on sustainable sources for the long term. Within the limited number of cases there should be maximum diversity concerning the characteristics of the energy technology (such as the extent of decentralization and the variety of energy sources and carriers). The cases should involve technologies that have already been covered by public policy, to allow for analysis of that policy. Each case starts with a brief description of the history and current situation with regard to the technology, the actors involved, the applications and markets (including niche markets), the learning curve, policy as pursued and institutional aspects. This is followed by a discussion of expectations on the technology involved for energy supply in the future. Next, the driving forces and barriers that have been relevant for the development and application...

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