1st Edition

Wind and Solar Energy Transition in China

By Marius Korsnes Copyright 2020
    208 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    206 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the mobilisation of China’s wind and solar industries and examines the implications of this development to energy generation and distribution, innovation and governance.

    Unlike other publications that focus mainly on the formal policy landscape and statistics of industry development, this book delves deeper into the ways in which the wind and solar industries have evolved through negotiations made by the involved stakeholders, and how these industries play into larger Chinese development and policymaking interests. Overall, it sheds new light on the strategic development of China’s renewable energy industry, the flexible governance methods employed and the internal struggles which Chinese local, regional and central policymakers, and state-owned and private enterprises have faced.

    This book will be of great relevance to students and scholars of renewable energy technologies, energy policy and sustainability transitions, as well as policymakers with a specific interest in China.


    1. Introduction 

    2. Transition, Catch-Up and Innovation: Different Perspectives  

    3. Energy Governance and Innovation in China  

    4. The Emergence of China’s Wind and Solar Industries  

    5. The International Relations of the Wind and Solar Industries 

    6. The Future as a Resource for Change in the Offshore Wind Industry 

    7. China’s Urban and Rural Distributed PV Development  

    8. Creating a World after Whose Image?

    Appendix: Overview of Interviews



    Marius Korsnes is a postdoctoral researcher connected to the Research Centre on Zero Emission Neighbourhoods in Smart Cities (ZEN) and the Norwegian Centre for Energy Transition Strategies (NTRANS) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway.

    "This fascinating study of Chinese wind and solar technologies uses an STS approach to study the Chinese governance of energy transition. It gives a highly original perspective on China’s transformation from a manufacturing-based economy into a design and innovation country, and raises important questions about the possible directions of China’s future development." -- Wiebe E. Bijker, Professor Emeritus of Technology and Society, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

    "A renewable energy revolution is happening in China, and this book provides an excellent backdrop to understand how this revolution has come about. Given the importance of understanding China’s role in fighting the global climate breakdown, Marius Korsnes’ book is particularly timely and welcome. Wind and Solar Energy Transition in China provides a detailed and well-written account of the conditions within which China’s wind and solar industries have grown, helping us understand how sustainable change is strategically governed in China." -- Jørgen Randers, Professor of Climate Strategy, Norwegian Business School, Norway

    "This book nicely summarizes the rise of China’s wind and solar industries, as well as the extensive body of literature that has studied these industries over the past two decades. The examination of emerging renewable energy applications in China, including offshore wind, distributed solar and smart cities, is particularly timely."  -- Joanna Lewis, Associate Professor and Director of the Science, Technology and International Affairs Program, Georgetown University, US

    "This book offers one of the first detailed accounts of China’s distinctive mode of governance of its high technology renewable energy industries. It shows how the Chinese government is able to orchestrate the development of wind and solar PV technology, despite the high costs and long timeframes involved. One element in this is the deployment of future expectations that mobilise investments and sustain the development of industrial capability. In contrast to accounts which emphasise centralisation of Chinese government, Korsnes’ analysis offers novel insights into the productive role of regional and sectoral fragmentation and temporal delays in these processes." -- Robin Williams, Professor in Science Technology and Innovation Studies, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, UK

    "In an informative and engaging way, Wind and Solar Energy Transition in China shows the visionary policy goals and various hurdles the Chinese government and industry actors have faced in the greening process of the world’s largest electric power system. Marius Korsnes has written a carefully researched book, presenting a fascinating view to what happens behind the scenes of China’s low-carbon energy transition." -- Peter Karnøe, Professor, DIST - Center For Design, Innovation, and Sustainable Transition, Department of Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark.