How are diffusion intermediaries, such as project developers, involved in the diffusion of solar and wind power technology? What activities do they perform as brokers in implementation projects, and how do these activities create value for adopters?
These questions have been the focus of Joakim Aspeteg’s licentiate thesis, The raison d'être of diffusion intermediaries in solar and wind power in Sweden.
What challenges do you focus on in your research?
In order to make the transition to a renewable energy system, there is a need for actors that are involved in the diffusion of renewable energy technologies. Solar and wind power are now mature technologies that are ready to be diffused at a larger scale and we know that diffusion intermediaries, such as project developers, are involved in this diffusion process. But more knowledge is needed regarding this particular type of intermediary.
Previous research has studied several other types of intermediaries and identified a variety of activities, functions and roles. For the most part, however, there is no distinction between intermediation activities (between at least two other parties) and services provided directly to an adopter. Therefore, the central problem that I focused on is to understand why diffusion intermediaries exist, i.e. their raison d'être. I studied the activities they conduct and the value they create for adopters in solar PV and wind power implementation projects.
With your research, how are you aiming to address the problem?
By emphasizing on how important the activities of diffusion intermediaries are for the diffusion of solar PV and wind power in Sweden.
What do you hope for your research to lead to?
I hope that more stakeholders will realize the central role diffusion intermediaries play in the transition to a sustainable energy system. I also hope my research illustrates the value they create in implementation projects by acting between various actors necessary for implementation and adopters of solar and wind power technology.
Research on the transition to a sustainable energy system
Joakim Aspeteg is a doctoral student at Chalmers, the Department of Technology Management and Economics, the Environmental Systems Analysis division. His research focuses on the roles of intermediaries in the transition to a sustainable energy system.