Governing the transition of socio-technical systems: A case study of the development of smart grids in Korea

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  • The Kadoorie Institute, The University of Hong Kong, 8/F, Tsui Tsin Tong Building, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong
Received 13 July 2011, Accepted 2 February 2012, Available online 19 March 2012

This paper examines the motivations, processes and outcomes of the development of smart grids in South Korea through the perspectives of governance and innovation systems. Drawing on desktop research and semi-structured interviews, this paper has two major findings. First, the development of smart grids in Korea has been shaped by various factors including macroeconomic policy, the role of the government, and experimentation. The complex interactions between these factors at the landscape, regime and niche levels has impacted on the development of smart grids. Second, while Korea's government-led approach has its strengths in driving change, it has also exposed weaknesses in the country's ability to

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mobilise the private sector and consumer participation. Major obstacles including partial electricity market reform and public distrust exist. A systemic perspective is needed for policy in order to accommodate the changes required for smart grid development. Regulatory reforms, particularly price-setting mechanisms, and consumer engagement are priority areas for policy change.

► Smart grid developments in Korea have been affected by factors that go beyond technological ones. ► Those factors include macroeconomic policy, government's role, and experimentations. ► These factors also interacted at the landscape, regime and niche levels. ► The government-led approach has limitations in engaging the private sector and consumers. ► Major constrains include partial electricity market reform and public distrust.

  • Smart grid ;
  • Korea ;
  • Socio-technical systems
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    Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Category: Case study

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