Handbook of Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development Research
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Handbook of Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development Research

Edited by Paula Kyrö

Allying and expanding the diverse fields of entrepreneurship and sustainable development research is a modern day imperative. This Handbook paints an illuminating picture of the historic and current understanding of the bond between entrepreneurship and sustainable development. The authors explore the basic contradictions between the two fields and outline the transformative role entrepreneurship can play in achieving sustainable development. More than 50 expert researchers and their research communities from 16 countries across Europe, Africa, Australia, North America, and the Middle East provide original and informative contributions on a variety of issues, from women’s empowerment to climate change and organic farmers to ecotourism.
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Chapter 12: The renewable energy industry: competitive landscapes and entrepreneurial roles

Roberto Parente and Rosangela Feola


Emerging societal needs are a source of pressure for the development of new technology (Arthur, 2009). Improvements in existing products and services very often are not sufficient to narrow the gap and consequently the search for an entirely new technology paradigm starts, and usually ends with the emergence of a new industry (Day, 2000). The speed and effectiveness of this process of replacement depends on the one hand on technological and scientific progress, and on efficacious business strategies on the other. If it is true to say that new technological paradigms are the outcome of the combination of old and new knowledge (Arthur, 2009), it is also true to say that firms, by means of entry strategy decisions (Ghemawat, 1991), can select and foster the production of such new knowledge (Nelson and Winter, 1982). Unfortunately entrants to the new industry have to bear considerable risks. The time the development of a new technology takes, the amount of investments required and the possibility of being surpassed by competing technology platforms, are just a few of the sources of risk. Investments in such a scenario, where development trajectories are unknown and unknowable (Zeckhauser, 2006), are usually limited and will tend to follow rules that are very different from standard financial models. If competitors move late and/or with incremental investments only, the new industry will develop very slowly.

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