Combined heat and power in Dutch greenhouses: A case study of technology diffusion

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This paper presents a case study of the rapid diffusion of combined heat and power (CHP) units through the Dutch greenhouse horticulture sector between 2003 and 2009 in order to gain new insights regarding technology transitions. We present a sectoral diffusion analysis framework, which we apply to identify and examine developments in technical, economic, institutional, cultural and ecological domains that all contributed to an emergent and thorough CHP diffusion in the Dutch greenhouse sector. Five identified key drivers behind the CHP diffusion are the opening of the energy market in 2002, the high spark spread during the transition period, the compatibility of output of a CHP unit with greenhouse demand, the flexibility provided by heat buffers, and the cooperative and competitive greenhouse sector culture. We conclude that policies to stimulate or steer technology diffusion will benefit from an in-depth analysis of domain interactions and company decision-making processes. Such an in-depth analysis makes for well informed and targeted policies that are better able to steer an industrial sector effectively and in a socially desired direction.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-16
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015