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The international transfer of wind power technology to Brazil and China

: Gandenberger, Carsten

Volltext urn:nbn:de:0011-n-3453831 (705 KByte PDF)
MD5 Fingerprint: 978518bc1404c2880d45cc0a4e731bc1
Erstellt am: 9.7.2015

Karlsruhe: Fraunhofer ISI, 2015, 53 S.
Working Paper Sustainability and Innovation, S 07/2015
Buch, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer ISI ()
international technology transfer; transfer channel; wind power; knowledge spillover; transaction costs economics

Enhancing developing countries’ access to climate technologies is an important contribution to effectively addressing climate change at the global level. In this study, we analyses the drivers and barriers for the transfer of wind power technology from the perspective of multinational technology suppliers. The findings and comparison of two case studies on the transfer of wind power technology to China and Brazil are presented, focusing on which transfer channels were chosen and why, as well as what kind of impact this choice had on the local diffusion of the transferred technology. While the case study on China arrives at the conclusion that a variety of transfer channels are used and hybrid governance modes, such as licensing and joint ventures, are favored in particular, the Brazilian case revealed that transfers within multinational companies to their subsidiaries are by far the dominant transfer channel. Both case studies revealed that government restrictions have a considerable impact on the choice of transfer channel, which is due both to the strong involvement of the receiving countries’ governments in market creation activities for renewable energies and to their control over energy markets and infrastructures. The fact that the technological gap pertaining to onshore wind power equipment was closed within a relatively short period of time can be regarded as a success of international technology transfer. For China as well as Brazil, the regulatory framework for the development of the wind power sector can be seen as the most important driving force for this development. Both countries were successful in creating market demand for wind energy, although the political approach of the Chinese government towards the wind power sector is considered to be more ambitious and comprehensive. Most importantly the Chinese government combines market formation policies with industrial and research policy initiatives that are targeted at the build-up of a domestic wind power industry. In contrast, the Brazilian government's approach is much more narrowly directed at developing wind energy as a cost-efficient alternative to other energy sources, although domestic production of wind power equipment is likewise strongly encouraged by local content requirements. Patent and in particular publication data suggest that China is catching-up rapidly. Nevertheless, our findings high-light that absorptive capacity is based on more than just the ability to innovate; otherwise the success of Chinese companies in the wind technology sector would not be possible. This could be an indicator of the importance of a “learning through imitation“ model in the technology absorption process.