The (UP)Scaling of Renewable Energy Technologies: Experiences from The Austrian Biomass District Heating Niche

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Abstract

The successful diffusion of sustainable technologies is termed “upscaling” in the transition studies literature. This paper maintains that upscaling is an ambiguous notion that suggests that technology diffusion processes follow a linear trend from small-scale pilot plants to industrial-scale facilities. On the ground, however, socio-technical configurations are implemented at a variety of scales, simultaneously. These issues are demonstrated in this paper by analysing the historical development of the Austrian biomass district heating niche. Drawing on secondary statistical data and primary qualitative semi-structured interviews, it is possible to identify four generic socio-technical configurations or dominant designs that, in conjunction, shape the diffusion dynamics of this technology in Austria

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