IREK Working Paper No. 3

Applying the innovation systems framework to the study of the small wind turbine sector in Kenya: A review and research agenda

The need for empirical analysis of energy sectors in developing countries such as Kenya is occasioned by the energy access challenges faced and in particular electrification of communities who are geographically and economically disadvantaged despite inhabiting areas that are rich in wind energy resource. The role of decentralised approaches in achieving universal access cannot be over emphasised. Applying the National Innovation System approach to resolving the electrification problems using renewable energy has received limited attention. The Technological Innovation Systems approach has been used to study energy systems. Scholars however argue that the Technological Innovation Systems approach was primarily designed for developed economies and therefore applying it in the developed country context tends to mask important aspects in an emerging innovation system. The Innovation and Renewable Energy Kenya proposes a framework for better understanding the factors that affect innovation of small wind turbines technology in Kenya. The Innovation and Renewable Energy Kenya framework demonstrates that such modifications to the Technological Innovation Systems framework are necessary in understanding the rules and regulations, actors and capabilities, and flows and interactions within the innovation system under study. It identifies specific areas for attention relating to policy, knowledge flows and interactions. The paper concludes with a research agenda that could bring to the fore the blocking and inducing mechanisms to innovation of small wind turbines in
Kenya.

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