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Technology Development in South Africa: The Case of Wind and Solar PV


  • Lucy Baker

    () (Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex.)


This paper examines the political economy of technology development in the context of South Africa’s emerging utility-scale, privately generated renewable energy sector. Focussing on the wind and solar PV industries, the paper explores how international dynamics in manufacturing, investment and trade that involve increasingly global industries, are interacting with territorial factors embedded within South Africa’s unique economic, social and political context. While South Africa’s renewable energy industry has been celebrated internationally, there are tensions between commercial priorities, and requirements for economic development including local content. The paper merges perspectives from global production networks and the literature on technological innovation in low and middle income countries in order to analyse the potential for the development of innovative capabilities in South Africa’s renewable energy sector. The paper provides rich empirical content including challenges to the definition and implementation of local content requirements, as well as the involvement of key national and international actors.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucy Baker, 2016. "Technology Development in South Africa: The Case of Wind and Solar PV," SPRU Working Paper Series 2016-05, SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:2016-05

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:jinfst:v:68:y:2017:i:4:p:999-1017 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Nicola Grassano & Daniele Rotolo & Joshua Hutton & Frédérique Lang & Michael M. Hopkins, 2017. "Funding Data from Publication Acknowledgments: Coverage, Uses, and Limitations," Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology, Association for Information Science & Technology, vol. 68(4), pages 999-1017, April.
    3. Mari Martiskainen, 2016. "The role of community leadership in the development of grassroots innovations," SPRU Working Paper Series 2016-10, SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School.

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    Innovation; local content; renewable energy technologies; global production networks; South Africa;

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