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Über dieses Buch

Two general questions stood at the beginning of this PhD-thesis, namely: • What are the mechanisms which lead to the emergence and establishment of new technologies? • How can this process of technological change be influenced politically? In this sense, conceptual and theoretical interests were the early driving forces of the research work. This is also reflected in the considerable attention paid to the nature of technological change and political control. The result is an holistic per­ spective which builds on inputs from different disciplines and aims at dynamic interpretation. This, however, created a severe methodological problem: How could such a comprehensive perspective be used constructively? To develop this link between theory and forward-looking, policy-oriented analysis, and to devise a methodology which showed explicitly how this approach could be used in a con­ structive way were in fact the major challenges of this research project. The appli­ cation to the example of combined heat and power generation, and the comparison of the developments in the UK and in Germany serve the purpose to demonstrate how this approach and methodology can be implemented in practice. These as­ pects were also of particular interest to the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), one ofthe institutes of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, where most of the research work reported in this PhD-thesis was carried out.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Introduction

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
The process of industrialisation in the last 200 years has transformed our societies to an extent and with a speed which has never been known in the history of humankind before. On the one hand, economic growth and wealth have been the outcome as well as the driving force of new products and production processes, but on the other hand the natural foundations of life are increasingly challenged.
Karl Matthias Weber

The PET-System - A Theoretical and Methodological Approach to Innovation Diffusion and Political Control

Frontmatter

Chapter 2. Theoretical Approaches to Technological Change and Political Control Across Disciplines

Abstract
A number of key concepts are frequently used in the context of research on technological change, but often with significantly different connotations. Meanings differ among disciplinary contexts, and also among different authors. The following brief discussion of such key terms aims to provide a foundation for the study on CHP and to avoid misunderstandings with regard to the various disciplines from which inputs will be used. At the end of Section 2.1, a general typology of models of theoretical approaches to technological change will be suggested. The discussion of different disciplinary ways of theorising about technological change will be discussed along the lines of this typology in the sections 2.2 to 2.5.
Karl Matthias Weber

Chapter 3. The PET-System: An Integrated Approach to Innovation Diffusion and Political Control

Abstract
In the preceding chapter different approaches to technological change and political control have been reviewed. They allow gaining insights into different aspects of these phenomena but - taken individually - do not provide a comprehensive and well-structured foundation as needed for policy-oriented analysis. This critique is particularly relevant for an area such as energy supply where politics and economics closely interact to determine the technological choices of society. In order to address this deficit an integrated theoretical perspective is going to be developed: the PET-systems approach. PET stands for ‘Politics, Economics and Technology’ . In Chapter 4, the approach will be developed further into a methodology for the analysis of political control of technological change.
Karl Matthias Weber

Chapter 4. A General Methodology for Studying Innovation Diffusion and Political Control

Abstract
To investigate the case of cogeneration technology, it is necessary to define a specific methodology, based on the theoretical perspective formulated before. However, in view of the generic character of the PET-approach it would be useful to generalise the methodology in order to be able to apply it also to other cases in the future. PET being a fairly complex multi-disciplinary approach, this should be seen in the light of the objective to apply social science theory constructively and use it to deal investigate real-world problems. Such a methodology would also represent a condensed and easily manageable translation of the PET system approach into certain guidelines and key elements of applied research.
Karl Matthias Weber

Introduction of the Problem Area and Specification of the Methodology

Frontmatter

Chapter 5. Issues of Energy Supply and Cogeneration

Abstract
Electricity Supply is a typical example of a large (socio-) technical system. Its evolution is determined by complex techno-economic and socio-political processes. Similar to other such systems (e.g. water supply, telecommunications, gas supply), a grid structure represents the backbone and physical link between its elements. This physical interconnectedness has implications for the feasibility and introduction of both technical and organisational innovations. The technology user-side is particularly complicated because it is composed of a broad range of service end-users, utility companies and service providers. The example technology chosen, cogeneration, is a grid-based technical system, which integrates electricity and heat supply in one process. Both its diffusion patterns and its far-reaching organisational implications make it an interesting case to investigate.
Karl Matthias Weber

Chapter 6. Determinants of CHP-Diffusion

Abstract
In the preceding chapter, the main issues and trends in electricity supply have been discussed, and cogeneration technology has been introduced along its main dimensions. This aimed to provide the reader with a better idea of the requirements and consequences which a wider diffusion of CHP would have for the different actors.
Karl Matthias Weber

Chapter 7. Methodological Transfer - From the General Approach to the Empirical Investigation

Abstract
The major objective of Part II is to show how the theoretical approach and the basic methodology can be implemented in practice. As a first step, an overview has been given of major developments in energy supply and CHP technology. The main dimensions of the technology and their relevance for the analysis of actor decisions have been highlighted. Secondly, the main findings on the innovation, diffusion and political control of cogeneration technology as identified in past research work have been reviewed, in order to identify the empirical research needs and missing pieces of information for a PET-based analysis. Although this has delivered only ‘static‘ statements on the importance of certain factors of innovation diffusion, it provides a useful foundation for the further specification of the detailed empirical research methodology. In the end, the intention is to draw a more dynamic picture. This specification is going to be done in this chapter, following three main steps:
  • Specification of the general hypothesis of Chapter 3 for the case of CHP, based on the empirical information presented before;
  • Delimitation of the research focus, and justification of a comparative methodology, both based on the initially formulated research interests, the information on cogeneration and the propositions of the PET-approach. It will be argued for the selection of the two countries UK and Germany, for the selection of the types of cases and actors to be studied in the two countries, and for the choice of an interview-based research method.
  • Discussion of the possibilities to operationalise the concepts on which the PET-approach is built for an empirical investigation, and presentation of the potential data sources to be used for the case of CHP. This will be complemented by some remarks on the implementation of the empirical field work by semi-structured interviews, and the problems and limitations associated to this approach.
Karl Matthias Weber

The Empirical Account: Cogeneration in the UK and Germany from the Early 80s to the Middle of the 90s

Frontmatter

Chapter 8. Liberalisation of Energy Supply in the UK

Abstract
Cogeneration has had a very mixed history in the UK and has never been estab­lished to a significant extent. Building on the work by Russell (Russell, 1986a; Russell, 1993; Russell, 1994), its history can be separated into six distinct phases.
Karl Matthias Weber

Chapter 9. Transforming the Monopoly - CHP in Germany

Abstract
The development and application of CHP in Germany has been much more successful than in the UK, especially since the second world war. But already before that time some capacity had been built up, with some first applications of CHP at the end of the last century. Overall the history of CHP in Germany can be split up into five main phases.
Karl Matthias Weber

Chapter 10. Comparison of the Developments in the UK and Germany

Abstract
The two preceding chapters have given a structured account of the diffusion proc­esses of CHP in the UK and Germany along the lines of the PET-approach. Fol­lowing the same pattern, these developments are now going to be compared in order to highlight differences and similarities, especially in terms of the dynamic mechanisms and processes which have driven the developments in the two coun­tries.
Karl Matthias Weber

Concluding Remarks on Cogeneration, Political Control and the PET-Approach

Frontmatter

Chapter 11. Conclusions

Abstract
The two following sections aim at drawing conclusions which could of interest and relevance to policy-making, both at European or national level. While the five hypotheses and the requirements of CHP can be discussed in quite neutral, value-free way, the different elements of a CHP-friendly policy framework are based on the normative assumption that the wider diffusion of CHP is a desirable objective. The issue of desirability has already been discussed in detail in Chapter 5, and it was pointed out that it depends very much on the standpoint, interests and priori­ties of individual actors. However, from a socio-economic perspective, it became clear that the wider diffusion of CHP would be indeed a positive development in many respects. Consequently, the framework aims to give indications of how the diffusion of CHP could be stimulated by policy means.
Karl Matthias Weber

Backmatter

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