Low-Carbon Transition of the Power Sector in Southeast Asia: A Case Analysis on Thailand in the Face of Disruptive Technologies

Valente, Andrea and Wu, Lunting (2019). Low-Carbon Transition of the Power Sector in Southeast Asia: A Case Analysis on Thailand in the Face of Disruptive Technologies. UNU-CRIS Working Papers. UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies.

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  • Sub-type Working paper
    Author Valente, Andrea
    Wu, Lunting
    Title Low-Carbon Transition of the Power Sector in Southeast Asia: A Case Analysis on Thailand in the Face of Disruptive Technologies
    Series Title UNU-CRIS Working Papers
    Volume/Issue No. W-2019/4
    Publication Date 2019
    Place of Publication Bruges
    Publisher UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
    Pages 24
    Language eng
    Abstract In understanding the low-carbon transition dynamics of the power sector, this paper draws upon two separate strands of existing literature, namely the mainstream sustainability transition theory — multilevel perspective (MLP) approach — and the canonical disruptive innovation paradigms. It is observed that the former doctrine follows a holistic pattern that maps out general conditions under which transition is to occur, but is overly deterministic and falls short of contemplation on actors themselves; by contrast, the latter is actor-based and investigates locally their responses towards disruptive technologies, but has been mainly applied in the context of business strategy research. In this regard, the particularity of the power sector in Southeast Asian countries, wherein the state-owned power utility falls under the category of both a sociotechnical regime through the lens of MLP approach and technological incumbents through the prism of disruptive innovation paradigm, may link these two literatures together. Acknowledging the sociotechnical nature of technological transformation which is a non-linear process, this article suggests three dimensions to evaluate whether a country’s power sector is undergoing low-carbon transition: reconfiguration within the incumbent power regime, business model transformation, and the evolving regime-niche relationship. A case analysis is performed on Thailand against the proposed framework, and it is concluded that the Thai power sector is indeed undergoing a low-carbon transition. However, Thailand’s progress may not be similarly discerned in other Southeast Asian countries, which offers a fertile ground for future research on the power sector of those countries and on the possible reasons why they demonstrate different levels of low-carbon transition.
    Keyword Low-carbon transition
    disruptive technologies
    Sustainability
    STI studies
    Thailand
    Copyright Holder UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
    Copyright Year 2019
    Copyright type All rights reserved
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    Created: Tue, 09 Jul 2019, 21:17:29 JST by Masovic, Ajsela on behalf of UNU CRIS