Policy-oriented transition frameworks such as Strategic Niche Management, Transition Management, and Technological Innovation Systems offer limited analytical traction on deliberately accelerated socio-technical transitions. Using the Multi-Level Perspective as guiding framework, we therefore inductively explore the political acceleration of socio-technical transitions by investigating two deliberately accelerated heating transitions: the transition from coal and oil to natural gas in the Netherlands (1948–1973), and the transition from oil to district heating in Denmark (1945–1990), to draw lessons about the conditions and intervention strategies that facilitate rapid socio-technical change. We find that both cases were characterised by weakened regimes, stabilised niche-innovations, focusing events, and consensus between policymakers and business actors. User resistance was also low in both cases, partly because of public policies. Different focusing events in each case produced problem-driven versus opportunity-driven transition pathways; the former destabilised existing regimes but generated future-oriented uncertainty, while the latter facilitated rapid closure.
- deliberate acceleration
- multi-level perspective
- Socio-technical transitions
- sustainability transitions
Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms
- Manchester Institute of Innovation Research
- Sustainable Consumption Institute