Radi cal innovation in turn is likely to require com pletely new

Radi cal innovation in turn is likely to require com

This preview shows page 77 - 79 out of 136 pages.

significant transformation of infrastructures. Radi-cal innovation, in turn, is likely to require com- pletely new infrastructures. We must thus move from a static to a dynamic understanding of infra-structures. On the one hand, some of the techno-economic properties that characterise infrastructures lend them an aura of permanence. Those properties are their scale, indivisibility, capital-intensity, external- ities, asset durability, and ‘systemness’ (Markard, 2011). Moreover, the centrality of infrastructure to the functioning of society means that its sta-bility is often a goal in itself. The implication of the above- mentioned properties is that, when and if infrastructure change takes place, it is mostly in- cremental. The ability of governments to mobi-lise large resources and absorb the risks involved leads to the expectation that they will undertake the needed infrastructure transformations (Maz-zucato, 2013; Smith, 2005). 19 However, any true understanding of infrastructural change rests on the fact that infrastructures are socio-technical systems that are continuously maintained, repro-duced, and transformed. While in the short run infrastructures may be conceived as static systems, the long-run view must see them as dynamic sys-tems. This constitutes the essential duality in the infrastructure term. In consequence, innovation policy should address both specific low-carbon technologies and the in- frastructures within which they are deployed. There is no necessary connection between changes in these domains, technologically or temporally. They are nevertheless interacting factors, and private- sector innovation decisions may be closely linked LOW-CARBON INNOVATION AND DEVELOPMENT 69
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to public sector infrastructure strategies (Andersen & Wicken, 2013). In conclusion, developing and disseminating renewable energy technologies may prove ineffective, and even impossible, for energy sector transformation unless it is complemented by appropriate infrastructure transformation. Coun-tries in both the North and the South thus need to develop LICS that can simultaneously enable the building of low-carbon infrastructure and the tech-nological mastery of renewable energy technologies. 3.4 Dismantling high-carbon LICS The comparatively low price of fossil energy, which due partly to state subsidies, means that green leap- frogging in the South will not be a straightforward process, and that high-carbon energy is likely to remain part of the world’s energy matrix for some time. Because these energy sources are in direct but uneven competition, we must address not only the development of renewable energy technologies but also the dismantling of LICS for fossil energy tech- nology. This destructive aspect of a green energy system transformation is just as important as the creative aspect. The dismantling of high-carbon LICS is further complicated by the enormous value to the stock market of fossil fuels in the ground. According to Carbon Tracker (2013), to avoid global warming above 2 °C in comparison to preindustrial levels, the world can tolerate only the burning of approx-
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