Ceremonial Encapsulation and the Diffusion of Renewable Energy Technology in Germany

This inquiry employs ideas advanced by institutionalist thinker Paul Dale Bush to shed light on technology diffusion in Germany’s electrical generation and distribution industry. Research findings suggest that what Bush labeled as ceremonial dominance affects outcomes in technology selection. Evidence suggests that fossil fuel and nuclear technologies have remained favored by power producers despite the externalized environmental costs to society associated with their implementations. Advances in government policy have indeed created a framework that favorably accommodates renewable energy technologies. However, what Bush labeled ceremonial dominance is shown to persist and to contribute to ceremonial encapsulation. Consequently, renewable energy technologies have diffused only to the point that the powers behind the industry remain in dominant positions. Although there is measurable, incremental technological change in the electrical power industry, in light of the urgency of climate change problems, technologies supporting the electrical power system need to be selected more judiciously.

01. September 2014

Authors Iciar Dominguez Lacasa

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