A multilevel perspective of transition to a circular economy with particular reference to a community renewable energy niche

Zawdie, Girma and João, Elsa and Barrie, Jack and Finn, Jack (2020) A multilevel perspective of transition to a circular economy with particular reference to a community renewable energy niche. International Journal of Technology Management and Sustainable Development, 19 (2). pp. 195-220. ISSN 1474-2748 (In Press)

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    Abstract

    This article is an attempt to look into the processes involved in achieving full system transition to a circular economy (CE) through the development of niche activities. Based on a case study relating to a community renewable energy (CRE) niche, the article argues that for transition to take hold and make progress, the socio-technical regimes underpinning the system of a linear economy would need to be disrupted through the agency of niches that bring forth radical innovations across a spectrum of activities. This argument is explored through a case study from the energy sector in Scotland. A Delphi study is conducted to assess the success of the Scottish Government in progressing CRE as a niche aimed at disrupting the incumbent fossil-based energy regime. The study finds that despite the commitment of the Scottish Government to empower, nurture and shield CRE as a niche, there is no clear evidence as yet to show whether these actions have achieved their desired effect of enabling the CRE niche to play a disruptive role. The article also underscores the need for methodological refinement to enhance the robustness of the data used in the evaluation of policy efforts in niche development as a strategy for transition to CE.

    ORCID iDs

    Zawdie, Girma ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2166-7587, João, Elsa ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0796-123X, Barrie, Jack and Finn, Jack;