The technological frontier at Tyndall: the 3-minute catch-up

A slide I recently presented at a Tyndall Centre PhD Network event attempting to summarise three years’ work in a super short amount of time. I discussed three perspectives on my PhD project, focussing on empirical aspects for a very broad audience. Here’s the outline:

  • First, context counts. 1,000 MW of installed wind capacity on Irish hills are not equivalent to 1,000 MW in Germany.
  • Second, picked with the Tyndall audience in mind was the observation that uncertainty in the UK energy policy landscape has created not insignificant risk, uncertainty and opportunity in the Irish renewables sector over the past 20 years.
  • Third, more theoretically, a brief discussion on the global antecedents and constraints on local agency in a technological innovation system. In plain English, what was the ability of locals to create and shape a local wind industry? And conversely, how did aspects of the global innovation system influence the speed and direction of the nascent Irish wind sector. In short, local agency has been bounded by global constraints such as dominant players, knowledge and policy. Institutions and rules from one country, such as Germany have been translated and transformed by the European Union, and then “planted” in new locations. But the agency and technological momentum of local entrepreneurs and developers have proved powerful factors in creating a local industry, which contributes to a global knowledge pool.