Bilateral Netherlands: The politics of low carbon innovation: towards a theory of niche protection

his project will analyse the politics of providing ‘protective space’ for innovative sustainable developments. Sustainable innovation theory emphasises innovation processes developing within protective niches.

These spaces accumulate experience through real world experimentation and help carry technologies from demonstration and into commercial use. Three low carbon technologies important to Dutch and UK climate policy will be studied:

photovoltaic cell
offshore wind
carbon capture and storage
As public support under climate policy grows, will political competition for protective space increase amongst technology advocates? Analysis will look at the arguments advanced by advocates of each technology, and the audiences to whom these arguments are made. The networks of actors (individuals and institutions) that contribute to the development of these narratives will be explored for how they verify and spread the argument; and how their activities generate different forms of protection, eg economic subsidies, public investments, institutional support, valued knowledge, political backing, attaining positive symbolic significance. Importantly, we are interested in how these forms of protection feedback into the development of the niche innovations and affect their development.